Skip to main content

Full text of "Daily meditations"

See other formats









fTjHE following Meditations were written by His 
-*- Eminence the late Cardinal Wiseman in early 
life, when he entered upon his first responsible office 
as Rector of the English College in Rome. They were 
intended to form the habit of mental prayer in the 
youth committed to his charge, and to infuse into the 
rising Priesthood of England a spirit of personal piety. 
In them we still recognize the voice we knew so well. 
Some will yet remember the days, sweet to memory, 
when these Meditations were read in the Venerable 
College; and will welcome them as a memorial of one 
to whom, under God, they owe perhaps the vocation 
which is their highest blessing. To our clergy, col 
leges, convents, and flocks, these simple words of the 
great Pastor we have lost will come with singular 
persuasiveness and power. 


Archbishop of Westminster. 


END or MAN. On the Importance of Considering our End ...Page 1 
LAST THINGS. DEATH. What is Death ? 

ON GOD AND His BENEFITS. On His Majesty and Greatness ... 6 


Birth of Christ 

PASSION OF CHRIST. OLIVET. Our Saviour comes to the Garden 13 
ON SIN. WHAT is SIN ? . . . 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. Particular Judgment after Death 20 

Model ... ... 

THE DECALOGUE. On it as given to the Jews 27 

THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus before Annas and 


THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. As a Sacrament ... ... 34 

LAST THINGS. HELL ... ... ... 37 


> same as Christ s 


Blessed Saviour s Character 

MISSIONARY DUTIES. On the Missionary Life X 

THE PASSION. THE PRJETORIUM. Our Saviour is scourged ... 47 

living in an Ecclesiastical Community ... ... 50 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Obligation we have to be 


LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. What is Heaven ? ... 55 



of our Saviour s Teaching ... ... 61 

PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus is nailed to the Cross ... ... 66 




A Prayer for the Fir st Case ... ... ... 71 

END OF MAN. False Judgments of Men concerning it ... ... 72 


Death? ... ... ... ... ... ... 75 


GOD. On His Greatness and Glory ... ... ... 78 


subject] ... ... ... ... ... ... 81 



the garden ... ... ... ... ... ... 87 


is Sin? ... ... ... ... ... ... 90 

miration of the Saints X ... 93 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Signs which will precede the 

Last Day ... ... ... ... ... ... 96 


Charity?] ... ... ... ... ... ... 100 


CHRIST AS OUR MODEL. [Same subject] ... ... 103 


in the Old] ... ... ... ... ... ... 106 

THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. (Jesus brought before Annas 

and Caiphas.) The Testimony against Jesus ... ... 108 

THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her Purity. [Her Dignity as Mother of 

God] Ill 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Power of God displayed in the 

Blessed Sacrament ... ... ... ... ... 114 

LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Prison. [What is Hell ?] ... ... 117 
^ THE SUCCESSORS OF THE APOSTLES. Our Priesthood is the 

same as Christ s ... ... ... ... ... 120 

ON MISSIONARY DUTIES. On the Love of Souls X ... \... 126 
THE PASSION. PR^TORIUM. Our Saviour is scourged. [Same 

subject] ... ... ... ... ... ... 129 


of Learning ... ... ... ... ... 132 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Inducements we have to 

become Saints. (On the Obligation to become so) ... 135 

LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. On the Repose of Heaven ... ... 138 

PERSONAL VIRTUES. Self-denial ... ... ... ... 141 


Beatitudes ... ... ... ... ... ... 144 

INTERIOR SINS AND DANGERS. On Pride ... ... ... 147 


UPON THE CROSS. (He is nailed to the Cross)... ... 150 


SELF-EXAMINATION. Prayer ... ... ... Page 153 

1. On Prayer in General ... ... ... ... 153 

2. On Particular Prayers ... ... ... ... 1 54 

A Prayer for the First Case ... ... ... 155 

A Prayer for the Second Case ... ... ... 155 

END OF MAN. False Judgments of Men concerning it. [Same 

subject] ... ... ... ... ... 156 

LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the Nearness and Manner of our 

Death. (Its Certainty) ... ... ... ... 159 

OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS GOD. Duty of Gratitude towards Him... 162 

Shepherds ... ... ... ... ... ... 164 

VIRTUES THAT REGARD GOD. On Hope ... ... ... 167 

THE PASSION. OLIVET. Our Saviour s Fears. (His Anguish) 170 
ON SIN AND EEPENTANCE. On the Ingratitude of Sin. (Its 

Enormity) ... ... ... ... ... ... 173 


the Saints. (Admiration of them) ... ... ... 176 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Eesurrection of the Dead . . . 179 
VIRTUES THAT REGARD OTHERS. On the Measure of Charity. 

(Its Motive) ... ... ... ... ... 182 

SECOND TABLE OF THE DECALOGUE. Duties toward Parents ... 187 
THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus is accused of Blas 
phemy. (The Testimony against Him) ... ... ... 190 

THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her Humility ... ... ... 193 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Love which God manifests 

to us in it ... ... ... ... ... ... 195 

LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Torment. [Its Prison] ... ... 198 

X " the Ministers of Christ, and Dispensers of the Mysteries 

of God" ... ... ... ... ... ... 201 


MISSIONARY DUTIES. On Zeal for God s Truth and Honour X-.- 207 
THE PASSION. THE PR^ETORIUM. Jesus is crowned with 

thorns ... ... ... ... ... ... 210 


Application. On the Importance of Learning )( ... ... 213 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. In what true Holiness consists ... 216 

LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. Its Beauty. [Its Eepose] ... 218 

PERSONAL VIRTUES. On Mortification. [Self-denial] ... 221 

and the Publican. S. Luke xviii. ... ... ... 224 

INTERIOR SINS AND DANGERS. On Vain-glory (Pride) ... 227 

THE PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus addresses His Mother ... 230 
SELF-EXAMINATION. Fervour and Thoughts of God during the 

day... ... .... ... ... ... 233 

A Prayer for the First Case ... ... ... 235 

A Prayer for the Second Case 236 


END OF MAN. His true end is to know God... Pa#e 236 

LAST THINGS. DEATH.-On the Judgment we shall then make < ^ 

earthly things ... 


Name of Jesus 

On Hope ... 

THE PASSION. OLIVET. Our Saviour s Prayer 
ON SIN AND EEPENTANCE. On the Madness of Sin (its Ingrati- 


the Saints take in us ... 
LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Eesurrection of the Body. 

[Same subject] 

DUTIES TOWARDS EQUALS. On Corporal Works of Mercy ... 262 

Temptations ... 

THE DECALOGUE. Thou shalt not kill 
THE PASSION. The Tribunals. Peter s Denial 
THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her love of .Gcd ... ... 274 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Sanctification it bestows ... 278 
LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Torments. [Same subject] 

Ministers of the Eucharist ... ... ... . 285 


[Same subject] ... ... ... ... 288 

MISSIONARY DUTIES. On Zeal for God s Law and Kingdom. 

[For His Truth and Honour] ... ... ... ... 291 

THE PASSION. THE PR^TORIUM. Our Saviour is crowned with 

thorns. [Same subject] ... ... ... ... 294 

tion to Others living with us here X ... ... ... 298 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On a Good Use of the Sacraments... 301 
LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. The Company of the Saints ... 304 

PERSONAL VIRTUES. On Temperance and Fasting. (Mortifica 
tion) ... :.. ... ... ... ... 308 


Son ... ... ... ... ... ... 311 

INTERIOR SINS AND DANGERS. On Anger ... ... ... 314 

THE PASSION. CALVARY. The Penitent Thief ... ... 317 

SELF-EXAMINATION. On the Care of the Senses and of the 

Tongue ... ... ... ... ... ... 321 

A Prayer for the First Case ... ... ... 324 

A Prayer for the Second Case ... ... ... 324 

END OF MAN. It is to love and to know God. (To know Him) 324 
LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the Judgment we shall then form of 

ourselves. (On the World) ... 327 


OF GOD AND His BENEFITS. On Gratitude to Him for our 

Eeason and Soul. (Physical Goods) ... Page 331 

tion in the Temple 
VIRTUES THAT REGARD GOD. On Charity ... ... 337 

THE PASSION. OLIVET. Jesus finds His apostles asleep ... 341 

ON SIN AND EEPENTANCE. On the Sting of Sin ... ... 344 


the Saints ... ... 348 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Day of Judgment . . . 351 

DUTIES TOWARDS EQUALS. On Works of Mercy Spiritual. [Com 
pared with Corporal] ... ... ... 354 

MYSTERY OF CHRIST S LIFE. ACTIONS. The Calling of the Apostles 358 
SECOND TABLE OF THE DECALOGUE. On Spiritual Murder ... 361 
THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus is condemned to death. 

His Treatment during the night ... ... 364 

THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her Influence with her Son ... ... 368 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On an unworthy Communion ... 371 

LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Company ... 375 

>iC. Ministers of the Eucharist. [Same subject] ... 379 

MISSIONARY DUTIES. On a Love of the Poor V ... ... 386 

THE PASSION. THE PR^ETORIUM. Jesus is mocked by the 

soldiers. [Is crowned with thorns] ... ... ... 390 


MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Presence of God ... ... 397 

THE LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. On the Company in it of those 

dear to us ... 
PERSONAL VIRTUES. On Mistrust of ourselves ... ... 405 


but few are chosen " ... 

THE PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus thirsts ... ... ... 416 

Actions, and the Opportunities we have of good 

1. On the Motives of our Actions ... ... 420 

2. On our Opportunities of Good ... ... ... 421 

A Prayer for the First Case ... ... 422 

A Prayer for the Second Case 

END OF MAN. To praise and honour God. [To love and serve 

LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the Separation which Death will 

cause ... ... ... ... 427 

OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS GOD. For our Education and Moral 

Principles. For our Soul, Eeason, &c. ... 

the Magi ... ... ... 434 


VIRTUES THAT REGARD Goo.-On Charity. [Same subject] Page 437 

THE PASSION. OLIVET. Jesus sweats blood 

ON SIN AND BEPENTANCE. On the Punishment of Sin 


A 1 ... TJ^O 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Coming of the Judge ... 452 
DUTIES TOWARDS EQUALS. On Forgiveness of Injuries and Love ^ 

of Enemies ... 



THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus is brought before 

Pilate, &c. ... 
THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her care of us as our Mother. (Her 

influence over her Son) 
THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Purity with which we should 

approach it ... 

LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Eternal Duration 477 


/- are the ministers of penance, and judges over God s people ... 481 

MISSIONARY DUTIES AND VIRTUES. On Disinterestedness in the 
A Ministry ... 488 

THE PASSION. THE PRJETORIUM. Jesus is presented by Pilate 

to the people 

y Vocation to the Ecclesiastical State ... ... 495 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Presence of God. [Same 

subject] ... ... ... ... ... ... 499 

LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. On seeing the Humanity of the Lord 

Jesus ... ... ... 502 

PERSONAL VIRTUES. Detachment from the World ... ... 506 


Talents ... ... ... ... 510 

INTERIOR SINS AND DANGERS. On Lust ... ... ... 514 

THE PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus seems to be forsaken by His 

Father ... ... ... ... ... 518 

wards others... 

1. General Duties towards others 

2. Particular Duties 

A Prayer for the First Case 
A Prayer for the Second Case 



jfirst fHontfj, jRrst SHcdt, 

On the Importance of Considering our End. 

1. REFLECT how man, as a rational creature, ought ever to 
have his end, or the object of his being, before his eyes. In 
all that he undertakes, if he wish to be esteemed reasonable, 
this is considered as a rule absolutely indispensable. "When 
young he is taught to look forward to his after-condition in 
life, as a purpose for all he does, never to be lost sight of. His 
studies, his conversation, his very recreations, are made to turn 
towards this point ; his entire education is directed to qualify 
and prepare him for the profession or end of his social life. 
When he has entered upon it, especially if- it be one which, in 
the language of the world, excites a laudable ambition, he is 
encouraged to bear ever in mind the duties he has taken upon 
himself, and by their steady discharge to secure to himself a 
character, and distinction and reward. And shall we take 
such pains that we may never lose sight of our earthly ends, 
, and overlook the true end of our very being ? Shall we show 
such quick-sightedness in understanding the importance of con 
sidering the object and purpose of a profession or state, and so 
little in regard to the purpose for which we are living upon 
this earth 1 Yet, who takes the trouble to inculcate on us, 
when, reason first opens, the importance of this consideration, 
or teaches us the means of making it ? We hear men con- 



stantly speaking of the necessity of making way in the world,. 
and of securing a handsome independence, or a respectable 
station, or high dignities ; but when do we hear any one say, 
" I must push forward earnestly towards the great end of my 
being, I must ascertain the best means of accomplishing it, I 
must not be asleep while others are running eagerly to the 
goal " 1 But the importance of knowing and meditating upon 
our end can best be decided by the usefulness of such a study. 
There can be no doubt that he who determinedly fixes his 
purpose to attain something not placed absolutely beyond his 
reach, is sure in the end of arriving at it. Experience in 
worldly affairs and in intellectual acquirements proves it to be 
so. A constant attention to the acquisition of an object is the 
surest guarantee of success in its pursuit. Such, then, must be 
the case here. If we make our end, the object of our being, 
a subject of continued and earnest attention, if we keep it ever 
before our eyes, and measure the usefulness of every action by 
its power to assist us in the attainment of it, there can be no 
fear that we shall not be successful in our efforts. Now there 
can be no doubt that .the end for which God has made us is 
perfectly attainable ; otherwise He would not have appointed 
it for us. We can have none of those apprehensions on this 
head which we must have when our aim is something worldly. 
The objects of ambition, pride, or covetousness we are never 
sure of reaching. But what God has told us to aim at must be 
within our compass. Thus, consequently, will the earnest 
attention to it be our best security for its acquisition. 

2. Reflect how important it is to study and consider our 
end, on the ground that we must render an account of how we 
have lived with reference to it. God, at the end of our lives, 
and still more publicly at the great day of His assize, will not 
ask us if we succeeded in our earthly aims, and attained the 
end we proposed to ourselves, whether it was the acquirement 
of riches, or honours, or pleasure. But He will make us render 
a most strict account of how we answered the end for which 
we came into the world. Shall we venture, then, to answer 
Sim,- " I knew not that I had any particular end, for I never 
thought upon the subject"? If we made such a reply, could 
we reasonably expect anything but condemnation and" punish- 


ment 1 If, indeed, our total neglect of consideration and 
meditating 011 the subject could ward off our doom, we might 
pronounce those blessed who neglected it, and lived as the 
brutes that have no understanding, without knowing wherefore 
they were created. Unhappily for the careless, it will not be so. 
God will judge us without reference to our views upon this 
matter. Or rather, our having neglected to pay due attention 
to this end of our being, will be a grievous transgression in His 
sight, and probably the foundation of all our guilt. It will be 
justly considered by Him a contemptuous neglect of the first 
great duty imposed upon us, for it was an obligation coeval 
with our creation or birth. To neglect, therefore, this import 
ant consideration, is the surest way to incur the judgments of 
God. But, on the other hand, to make it an object of unceas 
ing attention is the surest way to escape them. For we cannot 
earnestly reflect upon it without conceiving the wish to comply 
with it, and being drawn forward to the endeavour so to do. 
We shall constantly ask ourselves the question, " Is this con 
formable to the end of my creation ; shall I be able to answer 
for this action, when called to give an account of how I have 
lived up to my end ? " In this manner we shall have a salutary 
answer to the pleadings of passion, and square all our actions 
by the best and surest of rules. 

3. Affections and resolutions. Let me, then, determine never 
in future to let go this most vital of all objects from my 
thoughts. Let me never forget the great end for which I came 
into the world. It is the foundation of all solid virtue, it will 
keep me clear of all illusions, and will make my efforts to 
serve God truly reasonable, guided by principle rather than 
by mere feeling. I will make it the subject of repeated medi 
tations at short intervals, so as never to lose sight of it. Give 
me grace, then, O God, diligently to study the end for which 
Thou wast pleased to give me this my being. Teach me the 
serious importance of this study, and grant that during this 
course of meditations, which for Thy honour and glory I have 
this day undertaken, I may have principally in view the 
arriving at a settled solid virtue, based entirely upon the 
thorough knowledge of my end. And now, dear Lord, send 
down Thy blessing upon this course of meditations, that it may 

B 2 


be to me a source of grace and a means of improvement ; that 
by often reflecting upon Thy law, and its important truths, I 
may be led to practise all it teaches, and thereby be brought to 
Thee, who art my only true end. 

first fHontfj, Jfirst 8& 
LAST THINGS. DEATH. What is Death ? 

1. Reflect how little we can understand or imagine of our 
selves when in our mother s womb, or before we came into the 
world. We can only describe it by the negation of what we 
are now. And much the same is our notion of what we shall 
be after death, except for so much as our faith teaches us. 
Death is the end, as birth was the beginning, of life. When it 
comes to me I shall disappear from the world ; men will speak 
of me as gone, while they say that my body, that is, a lump of 
lifeless clay bearing a resemblance of me, will be buried under 
ground on such a day. There will be some sorrow, and perhaps 
a passion of tears, for a little while, with a few friends, and 
good-natured regrets from others, and some surprise in many ; 
but in a short time my place will be filled up by another ; my 
friends will form new friendships ; it will be as when a vessel 
full of water is drawn up from a stream, no void is perceptible, 
the hole that is made is soon closed up. The world will go on 
as it did before, and in a few years my name will cease to be in 
the mouths of men. To myself, what will death be ? The 
termination of my life, the dissipation of a vapour, the fleeting 
of an airy cloud. From thenceforth my tongue will be with 
out speech, or utterance of any sound ; my ears will be insen 
sible to the pleasant discourse of friends, or the merry songs of 
birds ; my eyes will be shut in perpetual blindness ; my heart 
will l)e still and cold, and all my body stiff and useless. 
"Praecisaestvelut a texente vita mea, et anima mea inferno 
appropinquavit. " 

2. Reflect that death is not only the end of life, but is also 
the birth or beginning of another state of existence. It is a 
gate, a passage from this world into another, and it imports us 


to know it well and meditate upon it in this light, more than 
in the other,. For what will the past matter to us then, com 
pared with the future 1 What shall we care whether we have 
lived a long or a short time, or whether we have been gay or 
sorrowful, or have been rich or poor, honoured or despised, 
when these things are past, and are not to be taken into 
account in our future and eternal condition 1 " Death, then, is a 
door into another state, wherein everything will be different 
from what is here below, yea, in most things clean the con 
trary ; for the poor here shall probably have the best chance of 
being rich there, and the lowly here will enter in, honoured 
with heavenly hymns." (Office of St. Martin.) The scholar, 
on the day he leaves his school to begin his career of life, heeds 
not the past, which has been but a preparation for the future, 
and only reflects on the state he is taking upon himself for the 
remainder of his days. So should we look on death, not so 
much as the end of these our days of learning and pilgrimage, 
as the beginning of our proper and durable life. Our judg 
ments now should ever be what they will then be ; our affec 
tions should be what we shall then wish they had been. Yes, 
death is the door which opens to us the way to God, it rends the 
dark veil of separation behind which He sitteth enthroned ; 
when we have passed it we are in His presence, to enjoy Him 
or to lose Him for ever. Oh ! what an awful step, what an 
all-important moment ! "What is all life compared with it 1 

3. Affections. Ask of God to teach you rightly to under 
stand what death is, and to feel how much depends upon it. 
" Oh, blessed Jesus, the triumpher over death, give me abun 
dantly the light of Thy grace, to comprehend as I ought the 
importance of my last hour. Therefore wast Thou pleased to 
expire between two sinners, that in them might be exemplified 
the two different lots that await us at that hour, according as 
we mock Thy sufferings by our impenitence, or seek mercy 
through the merits of Thy blessed death and passion. I, for 
my part, intend and firmly purpose to be with the penitent; but 
for this end I will forthwith begin to prepare. I care not for 
death as the end of these passing and vain things, while I look 
upon it as the means of coming to Thee. Yes, perish for me 
the riches and honours of this world, if, by having despised 


them, I shall feel the better prepared for this journey, when the 
hour of Thy visitation cometh. May the thought of Thee 
crucified then comfort me and strengthen me, and may my life 
now be so conformed to Thy image, that having followed 
and imitated Thee through life, I may be worthy to see and 
enjoy Thee then. 

.first fftontjj, jfirst EJHwfe. Euesteg. 
ON GOD AND His BENEFITS. On His Majesty and Greatness. 

1. Reflect how a knowledge of God must be the first step to 
a deep conviction of our duties towards Him. It becomes us, 
therefore, profoundly to meditate upon Him and His infinite 
perfections, if we wish to arrive at this conviction. Let us, 
then, turn our thoughts towards Him, contemplating Him 
first as He is in Himself, that so on a future occasion we may 
consider His attributes as exercised in relation to us. But 
alas ! how shall we be able to meditate with any fruit upon 
Him, whose glory can only oppress us and whose immensity 
can but fatigue our minds ? Still, let us humbly approach Him, 
and endeavour with the small powers He has bestowed upon 
us, to catch a glimpse of His incomprehensible Majesty. His 
own word has given us a lesson of the manner in which He 
would have us consider Him, by taking as terms of comparison 
whatever is most majestic and terrible upon earth. Sometimes 
He is represented to us as a sovereign seated upon a high 
throne, so magnificent in His array as that the skirts of His 
garment filled the entire temple thus become His footstool. 
(Isaias vi.) On other occasions the prophet sees under Him 
"a whirlwind, and a great cloud and fire enfolding it, and 
brightness round about it," upon which is " the likeness of 
the throne, the likeness of the appearance of a man upon. 
it." And He is represented as of fire shining round 
about, while the transparent splendour of amber and the 
rainbow envelops Him on every side. (Ezech. i.) Still more 
terrible in His majesty is He exhibited by another prophet. 
"God," he writes, "will come from the south, and the Holy 


one from Mount Pharan. His glory covered the heavens, and 
the earth is full of His praise. His brightness shall be as the 

light, horns are in His hands He stood and measured 

the earth : He beheld and melted the nations ; and the ancient 
mountains were crushed to pieces. The hills of the world were 

bowed down by the journeys of His eternity The 

mountains saw Thee and were grieved : the great body of 
waters passed away. The deep put forth its voice : and the 
deep lifted up its hands." (Habac. in.) Time would fail us to 
recount the many passages in which the Word of God thus 
depicts His glory and majesty to us, under the most overpower 
ing imagery ; sometimes describing Him as riding upon the 
cherubim and bending the heavens beneath Him ; sometimes 
as shaking the pillars of heaven by His will (Job xxvi.), or 
as shaming the brightness of the heavenly bodies by the 
superior splendour and purity of His look (xxv. ). " With Him 
is wisdom and strength : He hath counsel and understanding, 

If He withhold the waters, all things shall be dried 

up, and if He send them out, they shall overturn the earth. . 
. . . He looseth the belt of kings, and girds their loins with a 
cord" (XIL). Such is God whom we daily adore, in whose 
presence we now stand, whose face we are about to propitiate, 
and with whom we are about to speak, as suppliants entreating 
Him to deal not with us according to His justice, as servants 
offering Him our duty and homage for the day. And is it such 
as we have seen Him in our meditations that we shall contem 
plate Him in our prayer ? Is it thus exalted, thus accompanied, 
thus irresistibly subduing and thus terribly judging that we 
shall see Him present before us during the rest of this day ? 
If not, how inadequate to our correction and profit must our 
notions of His majesty and glory be ? 

2. Reflect how the attributes most exclusively essential to 
God, and those that most powerfully overcome the mind of 
man, are such as consist rather in the absence of limit than in 
actual qualities, which have some faint images upon earth. 
Power and wisdom and goodness are in small degrees possessed 
by men, and one of the children of men, the incarnate Son of 
God, has exhibited them for us in excellent splendour. But 
<even He never displayed upon this earth the immensity of God. 


For without entangling the mind with the idea of shape and 
form, who can imagine a being tilling, occupying, and pervading 
all thino-s, yet uncircumscribed and unmodified by them ! 
is higher than heaven, and what wilt thou do? He is deeper 
than\ell, and how wilt thou know 1 The measure of Him is 
longer than the earth and broader than the sea." (Job XL 8, 9.) 
The furthest of the stars, whose twinkling light hardly reaches 
our earth, is as far removed from the outskirts of His immensity 
as this sun, which, when we look up to heaven, seems to us 
placed upon His bosom ; and that star again, in the energetic 
figure of Scripture, calls out to its fellows placed as far again 
from it as it is from us, and they answer that they are in the 
very centre and fulness of God s infinity. And so multiplying 
systems of creation beyond these, and then as much further, 
all will be floating, and moving, and having their being in the 
same unchangeable abyss of power and glory. Who shall 
comprehend this God? Who shall fathom His depths, or 
stretch the measure of his understanding to His height 1 And 
as in space He is so interminable, so is He no less in duration ; 
for He is eternal. Not by time is this attribute to be measured 
any more than by space the other. If we should group together 
the duration of many worlds and call it a minute, and multiply 
it into hours and days and years and ages, yet when we shall 
have applied the scale in any extent, to the duration of God s 
existence, it will be as though we had tried by grains of sand 
to measure the earth s entire surface. His eternity is as 
indivisible as a moment, as inseparable into beginning and end, 
as complete ; and yet it defies the revolving course of ages to 
reach its term. They may go back to the beginning of their 
chain, and its first link will be found in the very midst of this 
ocean, buoyed upon its bosom : they may stretch it to the 
furthest extreme that their course will bear them, and it will 
never have reached across. But what a calm, what an endless 
repose in this Being in whom extension and duration are absorbed, 
in this undisturbed abyss of infinity ! What a sublime idea of 
the Godhead does it not give us, to imagine it thus, not as a 
waste and passive expanse, undisturbed yet inert, but in this 
immensity including all perfection of beauty, of power, of 
holiness, of happiness, of glory, each commensurate with His 


immensity in greatness, and with His eternity in duration ! 
As in this expanse of heaven which we see, the light and the 
heat which fill it, occupy the whole space, so that in every part 
each is, and both equally occupy the entire distance in length 
and breadth between us and heaven, even so is each attribute of 
itself God s immensity and God s eternity, and excludes not the 
infinity of every other. Such then is the Almighty God. 

3. Affections. " Glorious and eternal God, immeasurable 
and incomprehensible, I adore Thee, I worship Thee, I deeply 
venerate Thy awful majesty. The spirits that minister to Thee 
veil their faces with their wings when they pass before Thee. 
Thy prophet buried his brow in the dust when Thou appearedst 
to him in the cave of Horeb ; and I, sinful and unclean, feeble 
and unholy, stand daily and hourly before Thee, without fear 
and without reverence ! No : I will cast myself upon the 
ground, in the lowly humiliation of my spirit, whenever I come 
before Thee, and whenever I think of Thy greatness and glory. 
My knee shall daily bend before Thee, not in the coldness of 
custom and forms, but with the earnestness of a vassal whose 
very life hangs upon the word of the lord he worships. Purify 
my lips, that I may speak to many of Thy greatness as I ought ; 
enlarge the capacity of my heart, that it may comprehend Thy 
majesty, and love and adore Thy infinite perfections." 

JFirst fHontfj, jFtrst 

Birth of Christ. 

Preparation. Imagine that you see the stable of Bethlehem, 
with the infant Jesus lying in the manger, attended by His 
blessed Mother and St. Joseph, on a cold and dismal night. 

1. Reflect upon the contrast of the emperor Augustus 
issuing the vain decree of a general enrolment, and the condi 
tion of Him who is the true ruler of the universe. The one, 
to gratify a foolish and selfish passion, puts the entire world 
into confusion, and brings down curses upon himself, yet is 


seated upon a splendid throne, surrounded by a throng of 
courtly flatterers, and can command the wealth of empires. 
The other, who has come into the world for the good of all, 
yea, for their salvation, and who will receive for what He is 
doing the eternal blessings of all generations, lies on a little 
bundle of straw, wrapped in a few tattered swathing-bands, 
attended by His poor Mother and his aged foster-father, with 
an ox and an ass, and has been refused admittance into the 
poor inn of Bethlehem. Dwell long and earnestly upon these 
two pictures; mark them in their smallest parts, for there is 
much in them to study, and much to learn ; and you will be 
perhaps led to exclaim, " lamentable blindness of a world 
capable of making a judgment so perverse ! a world that 
honoured and exalted an Augustus, though but a usurper 
and a weak, sinful man, and rejected and scorned a Jesus, 
though He was the Lord of all things, the only true joy of 
men and angels." At the same time, see how Augustus was 
defrauded of his purpose, for his gratification never can have 
come up to his hopes and anticipations, while our Lord Jesus 
accomplished all His heavenly ends. Yea, He in reality used 
Augustus as His mere instrument : for therefore did Augustus 
issue his decree, that Jesus might come to be born in Bethlehem. 
2. Reflect that this Infant was not born as other children, in 
pursuance to the common order and law of nature, but because 
He chose to be born, being the Word incarnate, the Son of 
God made man. Wherefore, then, did He choose to be born 
in this vale of tears 1 It was for the love of me, that He might 
redeem and save me. And as He was born because He willed 
it, so was He born in the manner which He chose. Why then 
did He choose this manner of birth 1 For my sake, that He 
might teach me, and give me proof of His love. On my 
account, then, He was born in a mean stable, and cradled in 
a manger ; on my account He was born in the most inclement 
season, and shivered with cold through that long night ; on my 
account He was born in this abject condition, as one refused 
admittance into the very hostelries ; on my account He was 
poorly attended and poorly nursed. Now, what have I done 
to have deserved such love 1 Had I loved Him first, or have I 
so loved Him since, as to have proved myself worthy of so 


tender an affection ? Would to God I could say that I had 
not rather shown myself unworthy of the smallest portion 
thereof! Would that I could discover but one moment in 
my life in which I could say, for that instant, I truly loved Him 
as I ought ! 

3. Affections. Enter now in spirit into that poor but blessed 
company, and take your part in solacing your dear infant 
Saviour s sufferings. Say : " O sweet Jesus, a babe for love of 
me ! Why was I not there, to take Thee up in my arms, and 
warm Thy tender trembling limbs by pressing them close to my 
heart ! Oh ! that I had but possessed a house, and one worthy 
of Thee, at Bethlehem, and I would have sheltered Thee and 
Thy mild maiden-Mother under its roof ; and if Thou lovedst 
not the honours and pomps of this world, Thou shouldst at 
least have received at my hands the courtesies and cares of an 
affectionate and grateful heart. Oh, wretched Bethlehemites, 
what a treasure have ye lost, or rather thrown away ! But no 
had you received and harboured Him with honour, He would 
not have been so much my joy and treasure. It is as a poor 
and helpless Babe, whereas Thou art the Lord of all things, 
that I best can prize Thee ; it is as wrapped in swaddling- 
clothes, whereas Thou art He who swathed the infant sea with 
clolids, that I best can love Thee ; it is as shivering with 
old on Thy little bed of straw, that I can best embrace Thee, 
and press Thee to my heart. No, no ! thus I wish ever to 
know Thee as Thou wast at Bethlehem, cast out by men that 
Thou mightest be wholly mine, weeping that I may weep with 
Thee, loving me that I may love Thee !" 

jFirst iHontfj, jFtrst ttUtfc.~-3pflodig. 

1. Reflect that, since the Scripture says, " Initium sapientise 
timor Domini," the fear of God must be a very necessary and 
indispensable virtue. In fact, it is the basis and very founda 
tion of all feelings towards Him. He is our Lord and most 
dread Sovereign, to whom we owe all homage and duty. Can 


a lowly. subject ever appear before his sovereign, though a man 
like himself, and though ever so gracious, without a feeling of 
awe and reverence, even some trembling and heartfelt fear? This 
is an instinctive feeling, even if he have not transgressed the 
laws. And should not we feel a constant fear of God, in 
whose hands are our lots, and who could in a moment destroy 
us, and ought, if He treated us according to our deserts ? For 
God is our judge, whose eye is ever following us, and who will 
one day bring us to strict account for all that we do and say 
and even think, and will punish all that is amiss with exceeding 
rigour. How then ought T to fear Him, who have every reason 
to know what I have deserved at His hands ? From morning 
till night, and from night till morning, I am in His presence, 
under His watchful eye ; and at any moment that I offend, He 
may justly cut me off, and send me to eternal perdition ! And 
shall I not live in constant fear of this my terrible Judge ? 
And should not this be a most powerful restraint and curb upon 
me to preserve me from sin 1 

2. Reflect, however, that such a fear chiefly belongs to those who 
love Him not yet. For, though I know Him to be an inflexible 
and terrible judge, I know Him to be also a kind and gracious 
master. And therefore, although I know myself well deserving 
of being treated according to the full rigour of His justice, yet 
cannot I be content to fear Him without some admixture of 
confidence and love. I will fear Him rather as I would fear a 
kind parent whom I would not for all the world offend. It is 
thus He wishes to be feared. " Si pater sum ego, ubi est timor 
meus ?" (Mai. i. 6.) I will fear His frown no less than His 
rod, His displeasure more than His punishment. I will fear 
lest by sin I may deserve to be shut out from the brightness of 
His countenance even here below. I will fear the diminution 
of His graces and favours, of His consolations and inspirations. 
And therefore I will avoid, more than any worldly evil, every 
violation of His law, however trivial it may appear. I will 
endeavour to avoid all that can in the least displease Him, and 
thus prove to Him that my fear is tempered witji love. 

3. Affections. Cover your face before God as did the 
prophet Elias, when admitted to His presence on Horeb ; and 
prostrate yourself on the ground, sayiii" : " Great God of 


majesty and power, my Judge in the tremendous day, teach 
me to understand and feel this saving fear of Thy judgments. 
1 Confige timore tuo carnes meas, a judiciis enim tuis timui. 
Yes, pierce through my very flesh, unto the very marrow of my 
bones, with this trembling before Thee, knowing as I do Thy 
power and justice, and my evil deserts. When tempted to sin, 
I will remember that Thou art looking on, who wilt one day 
inflict severe punishment upon me ; and I shall refrain from sin. 
But no ; rather will I contemplate Thee as a father angry for 
his child s transgressions, whose displeasure alone is sufficient 
chastisement. And thus will I fear Thy indignation as the 
greatest evil which can befall me. Thanks to Thy mercy, I 
firmly purpose never to incur that more dreadful indignation 
wherewith Thou visitest impenitent sinners, or those who, 
fearing not Thy wrath, offend Thee grievously. But still, will 
I fear Thee so as to dread giving Thee the slightest displeasure. 
And do Thou strengthen this wholesome fear. Make me also 
never forget that I have often and often grievously offended 
Thee ; and by this painful remembrance preserve me from a 
dangerous security : but quicken within me a continual sorrow, 
and unceasing efforts to propitiate Thy justice." 

first JHontfj, JTivst ffitofc. Jftag. 

PASSION OF CHRIST. OLIVET. Our Saviour comes to the 


Preparation. Contemplate your blessed Redeemer prostrate 
on the ground which He waters with His tears and blood, in 
the garden- of Olives, while His Apostles sleep at a distance. 

1. Reflect that this is the first scene of our Saviour s bitter 
Passion, or rather its prelude or preparation. He had passed 
the day in an occupation pleasant to His loving heart. 
" Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum." He 
had consoled His afflicted disciples, saying, "Non turbetur 
cor vestrum neque formidet." He had given them the last 
legacy of His love by instituting the adorable Eucharist ; and 
thus He had been employed on some of the most consoling 


offices of His ministry. It was therefore meet that between 
this occupation and His dolorous passion, there should be an 
interval of separation, during which He should in a manner be 
cut off from all commerce with men, and should prepare His 
soul in silence and meditation for the awful and terrible tragedy 
which was to ensue. Further reflect how it was just that the 
first blow should be struck in a manner by His Eternal Father, 
whose justice He had undertaken to propitiate. Now this 
could only be done by the abandonment of soul and utter 
desolation of spirit into which He was allowed to fall. For 
God was to strike Him by withdrawing from Him the comforts 
and interior happiness which often recompense a soul in grace. 
Again, as the contemplation of His Passion naturally fixes our 
thoughts and sympathies upon His corporal sufferings, and, indeed, 
divides them between His sorrows and the detestable inhumanity 
and injustice of His persecutors, we are thereby apt to overlook 
the deeper sufferings of the spirit; therefore it was fitting 
that there should be one portion of His Passion wherein these 
griefs might be contemplated alone, before bodily pain was 
added to them, and wherein He should appear without other 
persons, much more wicked ones, to divide and diminish the 
interest we ought to feel exclusively in His Divine Self. 
Lastly, before being made to endure the penalty of sin, it was 
proper that, as far as He could, He should reduce Himself to 
the condition of a sinner, by placing before and upon Himself 
the entire burden of human transgressions, and being bent 
down by them to the earth, before He felt the weight of that 
Cross upon His shoulders, which might, under other circum 
stances, have appeared unjust. 

2. Eeflect how completely all this takes place in the garden 
of Olivet. There He lies upon the ground in solitude, the 
crowd far removed from Him, His chosen three Apostles over 
whelmed in deep slumber, and deaf to His remonstrances and 
heedless of His danger. He looks on His right hand and on 
His left, and there is none to comfort Him. He is cut off 
compltely from all human sympathy. His Heavenly Father 
seemeth to have withdrawn from Him the light of His counte 
nance, and His candle no longer shineth on His head. When 
He prays He seems not to be heeded, and though He repeats 


His prayer again and again, a deaf ear seems to be turned to 
all His supplications. Here He is alone, with neither friend 
nor enemy near, abandoned to Himself, yet overwhelmed with 
mortal anguish and agony, such as no man else ever endured, 
and suffering more in His soul during that brief hour than He 
did in body during the remainder of His Passion. There, in a 
word, He took upon Himself the burden of our iniquities. 
"Dominus posuit super euni iniquitates omnium nostrum," 
and their weight not only bowed Him down, but forced from 
His pores an unprecedented sweat of blood, the first-fruits of 
what He was about so plentifully to shed. So overwhelmed 
is He with grief, that one of His own angels receives a mission 
to come and strengthen Him ! 

3. Affections. Join company with this blessed and chosen 
spirit who has come down from heaven on so solemn and 
sorrowful an errand; and say, "Oh my good and gracious 
Jesus, drink, drink, I humbly pray Thee, of this bitter cup, 
that so I may be saved. It is true I have mingled it for 
Thee with bitter gall and the foul ingredients of my hateful 
sins; but I know that Thou lovest me to that degree that 
Thou wilt willingly drink it all rather than that I should be 
lost as I deserve. But, oh let me add to it one more ingredient 
which will make it sweet to Thee, the tears of a sincere and 
loving repentance. Be comforted some little with the reflection 
that of those who have helped to prepare for Thee this bitter 
portion, one at least shall not be ungrateful for the boundless 
love which has prompted Thee to drink it. I at least will 
never forget Thee upon this Thy holy mount, this mount of 
unction and of light. I will never cease to love Thee for all 
Thou wert pleased to endure in this earliest stage of Thy 
Passion. Often will I meditate on the grievous sorrows of Thy 
meek and gentle spirit, Thy sinless soul, Thy loving heart, all 
of them accepted and embraced that I might be spared ; and as 
often will I repeat the offering which now I make Thee of 
undivided affections and an eternal love. 


.first fflontij, JTirst E&Tcck. Satutfcaji. 
ON Six. WHAT. is Six? 

1. Reflect that sin is a transgression of the law of God. 
He is our sovereign Lord, who, having created us, possesses an 
absolute right to our duty, obedience, and services ; and by 
virtue of this right has imposed upon us certain obligations, 
under pain of His eternal displeasure. When we sin, we de 
liberately throw off this yoke of duty, we declare ourselves in 
dependent of Him ; nay, we fly in the very face of His injunc 
tions, and violate His solemn commands. What a daring 
impiety ! what insane boldness must be required for such an act ! 
Further, reflect that when you disobey God, it is not so much 
that you declare yourself independent of His control, but you 
allow yourself to be seduced into another allegiance. It is 
some base passion or vicious inclination that tempts you to dis 
loyalty, and you obey it rather than God. It is ever, as in the 
case of Eve, to a reptile that you listen in preference to God ; 
and you value more its delusive suggestions than His positive 
commands; its "ye shall be like. Gods," rather than His "ye 
shall not eat"! Can folly and perversity go beyond this 1 ? 
Reflect, moreover, that this sovereign Lord who is thus basely 
outraged will one day call us to account for every sin, and with 
a severe scrutiny from which it will be impossible to escape. 
It is an insult therefore to His very face shamefully to trans 
gress the law, knowing how the transgression will be visited 
and avenged. It is braving His power, and setting at naught 
His justice and His judgments. And of such gross, presump 
tuous, and impious conduct have I been guilty every time I 
have sinned ! 

. Reflect that sin is not only a transgression against the law 
of God, but is moreover an outrage against His goodness. And 
this to a dutiful heart should seem the more grievous of the 
two. How He has loved me, how He has cherished me, how 
He has accumulated upon me His manifold mercies, how He has 
dressed me out from head to foot in His benefits ! Far more 
than a father has He been to me, far more than a mother. Now 
when I sin, I deliberately fling back all these mercies and 


favours in IT is face. I tell Him that they, and His friendship 
to boot, are not worth the hollow and vile gratification offered 
me by His enemy. I renounce them all. I toss them behind 
my back. I forego them for ever. I spurn them with my feet, 
I take to my heart instead a passing vanity, a toy, a bauble ; 
or I admit into my very soul a momentary intoxication as the 
portion I prefer to Him and His ! Not only so ; but I declare 
myself from thenceforth His enemy, instead of His child and 
favourite, as I was before. I bring down 011 my head the curse 
of the best of fathers, and I welcome it and say, " I have 
purchased pleasure cheap at such a price." Good God ! have I 
ever looked upon sin in this light before ? If not, how blind 
and thoughtless have I been in studying my duty, ; if I have, 
how sunk in baseness must I have been to have thus offended 
Him. But no. I will rather hope and acknowledge that I 
have neglected to convince my soul properly of sin, or to con 
ceive its full enormity. But, now that I understand it, shall 
anything on earth again induce me to sin 1 Never, never ! 
through God s blessing, never again. 

3. Affections. Protest this your determination before God, 
saying, " Alas ! what must Thou have thought of me, my 
Sovereign and Father, when I so blindly transgressed Thy law ! 
What a despicable wretch, what an unfeeling creature Thou 
must have pronounced me in the sight of Thy holy angels, 
when I so wantonly, so recklessly violated Thy commandments, 
and scorned Thy fatherly injunctions ! But now Thy light 
hath opened mine eyes, and Thy grace hath touched my heart, 
I see fully the enormity of my transgressions, and my resolu 
tion is sot never again to incur it. No, sin, foul, hateful 
monster, I renounce and abhor thee from henceforward and 
for evermore. Out upon thee for a beastly fiend, that would 
make me an object of contempt and disgust to men and to 
angels, to myself and to my God. Begone from me for ever. 
No allurements, no violence, no advantage, no loss, no promises, 
no threats, shall ever again induce me to break my allegiance, 
or to violate my duty to my God. I will resist every tempta 
tion. I will suffer death itself rather than commit one sin." 


JFirst fHontfj, &cc0ntJ IStelu 

1. Reflect how it lias pleased God that we should all live in 
a state, of subjection and inferiority, not only to Himself, but 
to other beings, sometimes as frail and imperfect as ourselves. 
These, therefore, become His delegates, to whom He has com 
mitted a share of His authority over us, and for whom He 
exacts a portion of that submission and duty which we owe to 
Him ; not, indeed, so as to diminish our service to Him, but to 
pay a portion of it through the hands of those whom He has 
deputed to receive it. For we must ever feel towards them as 
holding His place, and to be honoured for His sake. In this 
manner He wishes to keep us in constant mind of our depend 
ence on Himself; inasmuch as, being too apt to forget Him, 
invisible as He is, and far removed from our apprehension, we 
are called upon to discharge part of our duty through others 
whom we see and know. In this salutary arrangement, pro 
vision has been made by His infinite goodness for the checking 
of our most dangerous enemy pride. For, if we were left in 
a state of complete independence, without any control of others, 
we should soon come to look upon ourselves as absolute masters 
of ourselves, and to forget our subjection to God. Therefore 
has God most wisely placed us in such a state that we should 
ever feel the yoke of men, and so never be tempted to think 
ourselves out of control and independent. Moreover, He has 
been pleased hereby to make provision for the insecurity of our 
own judgments. We cannot have a worse counsellor than our 
own heart, or a more dangerous ally than our own desires, in 
the most vitally important concerns of our salvation. Were 
we left to our own wills to direct us, we should be daily made 
a joy to our enemies. (Eccl. xxiii. 3.) It is good, therefore, for us 
to be placed under the command of others, whose greater lights, 
or more extensive experience, or whose very authority, coming 
lawfully from God, and having His grace, will lead us aright, 
and preserve us from many dangers. 

. Reflect that there is another superiority besides that of 
authority; namely, when another excels us in grace, in virtue 


and spiritual advancement. Such are all good and virtuous 
men on earth, and the faithful servants of God reigning with 
Him. in heaven. They may all truly be said to be our superiors, 
inasmuch as they have been placed by God above us, and 
He wishes us to look up to them with reverence and subjection. 
We are to have them constantly before our eyes as models and 
examples to be humbly followed. When you see a painter 
copying the masterpiece of some great artist, he will acknow 
ledge, in spite of all suggestions of vanity, that he whom he is 
studying is greatly his superior, and he calls him a master, and 
speaks reverently of him, though only another man who 
excelled in a worldly gift and calling. With how much 
greater respect ought we to look up to those who are our 
masters in the godly .science of salvation, who give us lessons 
in the knowledge of life eternal, who teach and show us the 
way that brings us unto God. Surely our reverent feeling 
towards them should be measured by the great good they do us, 
and should hardly know any bounds. 

3. Affections. Thank God in what He has done for tliee in 
these dispositions of His providence, and beg of Him the grace 
ever to revere, cherish, and obey all whom He hath placed 
between you and Himself; and say, "Oh, my Lord and God, 
who in Thy dispositions are not deceived, * I thank Thee for 
having, better than my corrupt inclination would have led me 
to desire, provided for my many infirmities and my manifold 
blindness, in giving me guides and superiors to rule me in Thy 
name, and bring me safely to Thee. In this, as in all things 
else that Thou hast ever done for me, I recognize Thy fatherly 
hand, and most wise dispensations. Give me Thy grace to 
appreciate fully Thy merciful kindness, and to profit by it in. 
every way. Teach me to be humble and submissive to all 
whom Thou hast placed over or above me, make me ever docile 
to their voice, whether of command or of instruction, dutiful 
to them, whether they praise or reprove, and in all things like 
Thy Son in His humanity, who humbled and submitted 
Himself even to those who unjustly judged Him. " 

* Collect after Pentecost. 


JFivst fHontlj, Srcoutf <Jcffc. JHontiag. 
LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. Particular Judgment after Death, 

1. Reflect upon the strange condition of the soul the moment 
after death. An instant before, a man found himself surrounded 
by fellow-men, heard their voices, saw their countenances, 
however faintly, enough for him to feel that he was still in life, 
that his feet kept a hold, slippery indeed, but actual, upon the 
earth that rolled unsteadily under him. The season of hope 
yet was, and of mercy and of expiation. Something has since 
passed over him, a shooting pang through his breast, a cloud 
over his eyes, a shock over his frame, and he finds himself the 
same centre of consciousness, the same individuality in another 
country, a wilderness in which he is alone, dismally alone, cut 
off by a door which has closed for ever behind him, from all 
communication with those who a moment before surrounded 
him, unable to explain to them his situation, or ask their 
counsel. "Was all that passed before a dream ? Is it only 
now that his life truly commences ? We may liken him to a, 
traveller, who having arrived late and wearied at his resting- 
place, throws himself on his bed without looking around him, 
and instantly sleeps : then dreams that he is at home, and the 
visions of his head so vividly represent to him all that used to 
surround him there, that he says to himself, This at least is 
no dream, but reality. Then lie truly awakes, for it is day ; 
and though every object which he sees be new and strange and 
different from those which before associated in his mind, yet he 
now knows verily that he sleeps not, and that what he just 
deemed reality, was in truth a dream. Even so, despite the 
newness and unwontedness of everything that surrounds him, 
the soul will feel that it is her real life, and all that passed 
before, and which then seemed so earnest, was but a dream, and 
perhaps but a sorry one too. How lonely must this her new 
solitude seem, this first moment of existence without the 
ministration of the senses ! How bare and naked and open to- 
all must her unbodied being seem to her ! How painfully 
sensitive to every impression the spirit must be when stript 
of its coarse dull covering of flesh ! 


2. Reflect how this state of solitude can be but momentary, 
so as to be almost an imaginary interval. For soon the soul 
will perceive (if we may so speak according to our imperfect 
notions) that she stands upon the very outermost verge of a 
frightful precipice, against the foot whereof a fiery ocean 
dashes its burning surges, and amidst their foam of sparks she 
sees the forms of those who preceded her but a few instants, 
already rolling to and fro. Then above and before her a throne 
of light borne by angels, appears, and she feels that she stands 
in the presence of her inexorable Judge, who sitteth thereon, 
not fully revealed, but shrouded in exceeding glory. Brief and 
summary is the process here ! The veil of self-delusion has 
been torn away from before the eyes, the heavy clog of the 
flesh has been removed which checked the soul s keenness of 
perception ; there are no bad examples to mislead, no evil 
counsels to encourage, 110 artful pleas to soothe the conscience. 
This is the land of naked truths. This is the court of unfail 
ing righteousness. The catalogue of sins is hung up fairly 
written out, clear in every point and tittle, and may be read 
either by the glare of the red-hot gulf below, or by the bright 
ness of the glory above, according as it has been left unblotted 
or has been mainly effaced by tears of sincere contrition. The 
good and evil spirits are contending for you as they did for the 
body of Moses ; the one urges the black indictment, the other 
the blood which pleads better than that of Abel. In less than 
an instant the cause is decided ; and before the hand which 
pressed down the eyelids of your clay on earth is withdrawn 
from your face, you have either been caught up by angels to a 
heavenly mansion, or dragged down by devils into a dungeon 
of woe. Oh ! what an awful moment that must be i How 
well bestowed must an entire life be, if spent to secure a 
happy issue ! That moment decides an eternity. 

3. Affections. " Oh, Jesus, my dread Judge, whom I must 
soon meet in this manner face to face, strike me to the very 
marrow of my bones with a salutary terror of that hour. If 
Thy very angels are not pure in Thy sight, what shall I be, 
when I come before Thee, defiled as I am with sin and every 
uncleanness ] But let not this fear be a mere useless passion ; 
let it be the groundwork of a sincere repentance. Let it lead 


me to bewail my sins which at that moment I shall bitterly 
curse ; let it excite in me an unceasing care of preparation, to- 
be found with my lamp trimmed, and oil in my cruse when 
Thou shalt come. Teach me to mortify the flesh with its 
concupiscences, to purify the soul and heart, that so when I 
have cast off the weight of the body, I may feel that with 
it I have left behind me its corruption and its offences, and 
may ascend pure and light to meet Thy approach. Cum 
veneris judicare, noli tue condemnare." 

Jfirst IHontlj, cconti 


1. Reflect how charity towards our neighbour is truly a 
divine or theological virtue, and one which God has beyond all 
others at heart. In proof of this, only consider how He has 
been pleased to make it a part of the same command whereby 
He enjoined us to love Himself. " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God .... and thy neighbour as thyself." Surely He 
could not have more effectually taken this precept under His 
special guardianship and protection, than by thus uniting it as 
one command with our undeniable and principal duty towards 
Himself. But, moreover, He has thus made the precept of 
loving our neighbours not only a part but the completion of 
that of loving Him. "He that loveth his neighbour has 
fulfilled the law." If we love God, we have not reached the 
perfect accomplishment of our duty towards Him. He will 
not accept of our love as real or anything worth unless it be 
perfected by charity towards our neighbours; And so entirely 
is this condition necessary, that if one only of all mankind be 
excluded from our love, be he the meanest of those on earth, 
our zeal for God s glory is of no value in His sight, though it 
ended in our giving our bodies to the flames for His sake. 
"Si dedero corpus meum ita ut ardeam, chnritatem autem non 
habuero, nikil sum." Furthermore, reflect how, not content 
with this, He has decreed that our love of our neighbour shall 
be the test of our love towards Him. If any man say that- 


he lore God, and hate his neighbour, he is a liar. For if he 
love not his neighbour whom he seeth, how shall he love God 
whom he seeth not f How important then must be this 
charity in the sight of God ! How much must He take to 
heart our loving one another, when on it He forms His 
judgment of how far we have loved Him. And thus our love 
for one another, when entertained for His sake, is truly a 
divine or godly virtue. 

2. Reflect how this love for one another is a heavenly virtue. 
For only in heaven will it reach its perfection. It sticks so 
close to the other branch of charity, the love of God, whereon 
it is grafted, that it bears, like it, the perfection of its fruit 
in heaven, and follows it in, when faith and hope are left 
without the gate. In heaven will be no jealousies, no repinings, 
no envyings of one another s good ; no soreness at seeing others 
preferred, but rather joy ; no anger, no peevishness, or ill- 
humour, but the reign of peace will be established in every 
heart, together with cheerfulness and brotherly congratulation, 
and undivided friendship of one blessed .spirit for another, 
without measure, without distinction, and without reserve. 
What a prerogative of this virtue to be the only one which will 
undergo no transformation or essential change in the next life, 
but only an increase, expansion, and perfectness of growth. 
Humility, meekness, the fear of God, repentance, resignation, 
will all be out of place or not wanted, any more than faith and 
hope ; but charity will be the same, having received no altera 
tion save only increase. Oh, blessed virtue, let me learn and 
practise thee now as the best apprenticeship I can make for 
that heaven which is thy true home ! Reflect again, how truly 
it is a heavenly virtue, by the consideration of what a true 
heaven upon earth this would be, if we all loved one another 
as we ought. For this purpose, imagine to yourself this earth 
such as it is, a scene of strife and enmity, of hatred and 
oppression, of deceit and envy, both in public and private, 
whether we consider nations or families, communities or private 
individuals. "What a confusion, what a chaos of jarring and 
warring elements ! But imagine now that the spirit of charity 
and peace descended upon it from heaven and restored all to 
harmony and love, what a creation of light and beauty would 


be the immediate consequence ! If we saw men going through 
the public places and from house to house to learn how they 
could do a kind act for their neighbours or render them service ; 
if each one smiled in affection on all he met, and rejoiced in 
their happiness as in his own ; if armies went over confines of 
other countries, only to bear them their superfluities, and 
minister to their dearth ; if the poor were instantly, when 
found, called to the table of the rich, and the sick forthwith 
placed in the couches of the noble ; should we any longer 
recognize this world of sin, and not rather imagine that heaven 
had descended to earth, and that the reign of Christ with His 
saints had been anticipated here below ? Now all this, and 
much more, would charity do, if it were truly understood and 
practised by us. 

3. Affections. Implore the Holy Spirit to warm your cold 
heart with His heavenly grace and love. " Oh, Divine Spirit, 
living fountain, fire, charity, and unction of the soul, teacli 
me to love. Dart Thy beams into my icy breast, pierce it 011 
every side with Thy flaming arrows, dry up in it all selfishness, 
partiality and pride ; make it expand to every neighbour for 
Jesu s sake, that in them all I may love Him alone. Let each 
be to me as a mirror reflecting His image at the same time 
that it concentrates Thy rays and sends them back burning 
to my heart. Make charity the principle of all my feelings 
towards my neighbours, the rule of my actions, the soul of 
my social life ; and grant that I may not have to learn here 
after the great lesson of perfection. Rather, O Comforter, 
make me such here as I shall wish to remain for all eternity." 

fHontfj, Second 

our Model 

^ Preparation. Imagine to yourself the mild and gracious 
form of your dear Redeemer intent upon discharging the duties 
of charity and benevolence towards all classes of men. 

1. Reflect, why did Jesus Christ take upon Him our estate 


and clothe Himself in our ignominious flesh 1 Primarily, 
indeed, that in it He might redeem us, and make that the 
instrument of our glorification, which had been the instrument 
of our abasement and perdition. But there was, besides, 
another reason, of love. " Passus est," it is true, that He might 
save us; but it was "vobis relinquens exemplum." For this 
purpose did He wish that His life should be recorded in the 
Gospel even in particulars insignificant, if compared with the 
great functions of His ministry. Thus we see Him first as an 
infant, then as a boy, in each giving us much to learn and 
copy. Then as a man engaged in a sublime mission, we know 
Him in all the ordinary relations of life. We may study Him 
when among His friends, and surrounded by enemies ; when 
teaching the ignorant, and when rebuking the presumptuous ; 
when conferring in private with the sincere searcher after 
truth, and when disputing publicly with its captious im- 
pugners ; when receiving sinners and leading the chosen to 
perfection. "We contemplate Him under His parental roof, 
then, without a place where to lay His head ; teaching in the 
temple, or sitting at the table of a publican ; in the public 
street, or in the house of a Pharisee ; 011 a journey, or at Jeru 
salem. In every one of these different situations He presents 
us a perfect model of what we should be, and especially to us, 
and all who are engaged in the sacred ministry. Oh, how holy 
would my life be, if, 011 every occasion, I asked myself the 
question, how would Jesus have acted, or how do we read that 
He acted in this or a similar situation ; if I tried to mould my 
conduct in exact conformity with this perfect model ? And 
what is to prevent my making this from henceforward my 
rule ? When I am in doubt, why not ever decide by what 
would have been my blessed Saviour s conduct 1 

2. Reflect how He chose particularly to be our model in the 
fulfilment of His own law, and that in its most perfect and 
difficult enactments. He commands us, for instance, to forgive 
injuries, and He chose to suffer the bitterest injuries, and 
showed us how they could and ought to be forgiven. He 
taught that poverty was a more blessed state than riches, and He 
led a life of severest poverty, to prove this to be the case, and 
show us how we might accomplish this enactment of His law, 


whenever called upon to do so. He taught us to be resigned 
to the holy will of God under every infliction, and He under 
went a heavy load of sorrow, and felt the wish that it might 
pass away from Him, that He might show us how to submit 
our wills without reserve to that of Heaven. He taught us to 
be meek, and turn our cheek to the smiter, and to pray for 
those that persecute us, and He embraced the occasion to practise 
all these lessons, that so we might know them to be practicable, 
and might have a rule or pattern to guide us. Our divine 
Master was not as the philosophers of old, or as the Scribes and 
Pharisees, who taught fine lessons of morality, and tied heavy 
burdens on men s shoulders, but a finger of their own they put 
not to them what He taught, He was the first to do ; what 
He commanded, He went before all in accomplishing. In this 
manner, while He is our model, He is also our encouragement, 
and stirs up all our best feelings humbly to emulate Him, 
and to tread in His blessed footsteps. 

3. Affections. Meet your loving Redeemer on His way, 
and, falling down before Him, say, " O my dear Lord, most 
blessed Jesus, every step that Thou takest is to guide me 011 
my way. Thou hast condescended to be my teacher and good 
Master, and behold, I am most willing and ready to be Thy 
teachable disciple. While Thou leadest, I will not hesitate to 
follow ; while Thou teachest, I will not weary with learning ; 
while Thou presentest the model, I will not cease to copy. 
In eveiy action I will endeavour to conform myself to Thy 
image ; I will try to think how Thou wouldst have acted, and 
my daily and hourly occupation shall be to see Thee ever before 
me, giving me an example, and to approach as near it as my 
weakness will permit. In trials and difficulties I will study 
Thee more narrowly, and meditate on Thy examples more 
deeply, till I imbibe Thy spirit, and am guided by it entirely. 
As one who, having to walk upon the edge of a precipice or to 
cross some frightful chasm over a narrow bridge, fixes his eye 
steadily upon some object before him, and, guided by it, 
escapes the peril, so will I place my eye upon Thee, and keep 
ing Thee and Thy holy example before me, pass secure through 
the dangers which surround me, till I come to be like Thee in 
the fulness and bliss and glory of Thy Father s House." 


jFirst fHontjj, eronti fttlcck. Efjursttag. 
THE DECALOGUE. On it as given to the Jews. 

1. Represent to yourself the awful circumstances under which 
the Commandments were given to the Jews. (Exod. xix.) They 
were ordered to sanctify themselves and wash their clothes, an 
emblem of inward purity, and forbidden to approach the 
mountain under pain of death. Sinai itself was then covered 
with a black cloud, out of which proceeded lightnings, thunders, 
and the voice of God s terrible trumpet. It was amidst these 
fearful accompaniments that the Almighty, or His representa 
tive angel, was heard to speak, and delivered the Ten Com 
mandments. After dwelling in awe upon this scene, reflect 
wherefore was all this terrible circumstance and grandeur of 
power exhibited 1 Surely not for any vain display, nor merely 
to oppress with barren terror the hearts of God s people ; nor 
for any other motive than to give these injunctions a sanction 
worthy of Him who made them. The Jews must certainly 
have reasoned thus : " If God be so terrible in simply giving us 
His law, what will He be in avenging it, if we transgress 
it 1 It is surely the law of an all-powerful and severe legisla 
tor which we this day receive. He whose words we hear, is 
a God well able to punish, and woe to us if we turn away 
from these His commandments, and heed not the warning we 
now receive!" And such, no doubt, was the true meaning of this 
terrible promulgation. Now, as the obligation of these Com 
mandments has not yet ceased, so neither has their sanction ; 
and though in the law of Grace more cheering motives have 
been proposed to us for observing them, not an iota or tittle 
has passed away of the denunciations against those who violate 
them. For our Blessed Redeemer came not to destroy the law, 
but to perfect or accomplish it. Woe then is me, if I neglect 
the laws of my God ! All the terrors of Mount Sinai will one 
day be awakened again, not to warn, but to punish me. 

2. Reflect upon the manner which God chose for the pre 
servation of this His law. He well knew and foresaw that 
scarcely would the mysterious Voice have ceased on the 
mountain, certainly before its awful cloud had rolled away 


from its summit, the stiff-necked and incorrigible people would 
violate the first and most solemn of these Commandments, and 
set up a molten calf as the God that had brought them out from 
Egypt s thraldom. Wherefore, with His own finger He wrote 
these same Commandments upon two tablets of stone, that they 
might be a standing memorial against them, and a lasting 
warning against violation. Now these tables He commanded 
to be placed within the golden ark of the Covenant, and over 
this He stretched the cherubs which formed His mercy-seat. 
They were shrouded from the people s gaze by the richly-em 
broidered curtains of the Tabernacle ; before them was placed 
the show-bread and incense, and the seven-fold mysterious lamp 
was lighted. To a stranger, all this would have appeared 
extravagant. " What !" he would have perhaps said, " all this 
magnificence, all this awful ministration, all these sacrifices for 
the sake of the shrine which only contains two stone tables, 
inscribed with ten short commandments !" But by this God 
willed to inculcate the veneration wherewith they should be 
treasured up and watched over by each of us. And by placing 
His propitiatory over it, what did He wish to teach us but that 
the foundation of His mercies is our observance of His law ; 
that it is useless for us to expect our prayers to be heard if His 
Commandments are despised or neglected ? Have w^e not then 
here a solemn lesson of the feelings wherewith God regards all 
His precepts, and of the diligence We should use for their ob 
servance ? 

3. Affections. Endeavour to conceive some portion of that 
love for God s law which animated the royal prophet, so as to 
be able to exclaim with him, " Qiiomodo dilexi legem tuam 
Domine ; tota die meditatio mea est ! my God, make me 
ever feel a deep regard for Thy holy laAv. Let my sinful flesh 
tremble when I think of the threats and manifestations of 
power wherewith it was issued. But rather write it Thou 
Thyself upon the fleshy tablets of my heart, whence it may 
never be effaced. I will make in the very centre of my soul a 
sanctuary wherein it shall be deposited ; it shall be curtained 
off from the gaze of the profane world ; it shall be my Holy of 
Holies, to which I will fly for refuge, for Thou shalt there erect 
Thy mercy- seat. Thou shalt teach me to study it and medi- 


tate upon it till Thou shalt bring me, through its perfect observ 
ance, into Thy own holy place, where Thou shalt be our treasure 
.and reward." Amen. 

.first fflcntlj, Srrontt HTccfc. JFrfoau. 

THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesua before Annas and 

PreparatioiL Represent to yourself your Saviour, with His 
hands bound, and placed as a criminal successively before these 
two haughty and wicked men, surrounded by their brutal 
satellites, ready to obey them in every cruelty. 

1. Reflect upon this intermediate stage of our Blessed Re 
deemer s Passion, and first of all consider what befell Him in 
its first scene during the night of His capture. He is dragged 
as a criminal before the two priests, the most implacable of His 
enemies. There He is interrogated by them ; false witnesses 
are suborned to swear away His life. Upon failure of their 
testimony, the High Priest draws Him into a declaration of 
His Divinity, and then pronounces Him guilty of blasphemy. 
After this, He is abandoned the whole night long to the fury 
of a merciless rabble, who subject His sacred person to every 
indignity and outrage within the power of their unchecked 
barbarity. In this and the after scenes before Pilate and 
Herod, we have the completion of what had been begun in 
Olivet; His desolation and abandonment carried to their 
highest pitch. For there His disciples did fight for Him, and, 
before that, were at least near Him, and, as it were, within 
call. But now they are fled. He is completely alone, and 
the only one that does for a time approach, only coines to dis 
own and forswear Him. At the same time, however, that the 
sufferings of the first stage of His Passion here receive their 
fulness and perfection, He begins to prepare for the third that 
of actual bodily suffering, by the treatment He receives at the 
hands of the Jewish mob. Thus were His sufferings ever 
growing and displaying new character till their consummation. 
In all this, how admirably is the course and method of God s 


ordinary providence pointed out, who, if He wish to try us 
by tribulation, seldom overthrows us by one sudden calamity, 
but gradually inures us to suffering by a course of graduated 
visitations. But in drawing such comfortable lessons from 
my Divine Redeemer s situation, let me never forget that 
those pains, small and great, were undergone for my sake, 
and that He stood before this unjust tribunal that He might 
liberate me before His own dread judgment - seat, when I 
shall there justly appear. I have been " guilty of more than 
the council," and might have perhaps been righteously con 
demned had I stood before it. But He, the spotless Lamb 
of God, who had done no sin, never could have been even 
brought before it, if He had not of His boundless goodness 
chosen to stand in my place. 

2. Reflect who were these that presumed to try and 
pretended to condemn Him. The priests, yea His own priests ! 
They who should have hailed Him with trumpets of jubilee, 
and borne Him in triumph with canticles of joy. They who 
had no dignity, no power, no worth before God or men, save as 
His shadows and representatives. They who ministered daily 
to Him in the temple by sacrifice and oblation, yet knew it not. 
They who alone once a year had- the privilege of entering 
Avithin the Holy of Holies, as a type of Him who was to enter 
the sanctuary of heaven, bearing not the blood of oxen or of 
goats, but His own most precious blood, wherewith He 
ransomed the world, and broke down the partition-wall 
between earth and heaven ! Great God ! and it is these men 
who presume to sit in judgment over Thee. The figure over 
the reality, the slave over his Lord, the vessel of clay over Him 
who fashioned it into a vessel of honour. And couldst Thou 
submit to this 1 Didst Thou actually bear this ? Didst Thou 
stand before such a tribunal ? Oh, my heart, answer thou 
these questions, for thou knowest that He did, solely for my 
sake, to teach me what my sins must have been which degraded 
Him so low, and what His love must have been to induce Him 
to endure such degradation. 

3. Affections. Stand thou between thy Saviour and the 
tribunal of these iniquitous judges, and exclaim, " Oh, ye 
senseless and most wicked men, on what madness are ye bent 1 


Oan ye call yourselves the ministers, the priests of God, versed 
in the oracles of His law and His prophets, and not be con 
vinced that He who, through them, hath given you your name 
and power, now stands bound before you ? Down, miscreants, 
from your guilty thrones, and prostrate yourselves at His feet, 
and crave forgiveness, if haply He will hear you ; for He is a 
gracious master, and now intent to save. And Thou, meek 
and innocent Lamb of God, can I not loose the bands which 
gall thy tender arms, and kissing those feet which have brought 
Thee thus far on such an errand of love, lead Thee back to Thy 
disconsolate mother and Thy desolate disciples ? But, hold ! I 
too am Thy priest, and yet, alas ! has my conduct been a whit 
the better towards Thee than that of Annas and Caiphas 1 
Have I not again and again presumed to summon Thee to 
judgment before me, when I have transgressed Thy law 1 ? 
Have I not repeatedly treated Thee contumeliously by rejecting 
Thy graces and entertaining in their place my wicked inclina 
tions 1 But, oh, worse than all, have I not by my negligence 
and irreverent handling of Thy adorable body in the Blessed 
Eucharist, laid violent hands upon Thee, and personally out 
raged Thee truly present 1 Forgive, dear Lord, forgive me. In 
consideration of what Thou sufieredst in this portion of Thy 
passion, pardon my past ingratitude ; and I, on my part, 
promise Thee faithfully never again to repeat them. And 
blessed for ever be Thy holy name." 

JFitst fftontb, Scrontf 2Eeefc. .Saturtmg. 

1. Reflect on the sublime dignity enjoyed by the blessed 
Virgin as mother of the God-Man Christ Jesus ; inasmuch as 
it is a singular elevation incommunicable to any other. For 
Jesus only once took our human nature, and His redemption 
having been complete, and His humanity remaining for ever 
united to His divinity, it is absolutely impossible that He can 
again be made man, or consequently be born again. No other 
being can be His parent ; Mary alone can be His mother, and 


God Himself, so to speak, could not bestow upon any creature 
the station and dignity which He has bestowed upon her. 
Reflect further, how, as He cannot bestow this again, so neither 
can He bestow an equivalent. For if He wished to raise the 
purest and sublimest of His angels to the highest possible 
pitch of excellence, it would be impossible to bring him into a 
closer relationship with Himself than that between a mother 
and her son, which is incommunicable. For when our Divine 
Saviour took flesh, it was the flesh of Mary which He took, it 
was a portion of her blood which flowed through His veins 
and became the stream of salvation, in which the sins of the 
world were washed, and the price by which we were all 
ransomed. Hence the order observed of old was reversed, and 
whereas the first Adam yielded a part of himself for the 
fashioning of Eve, builded up from his rib, here on the contrary 
the second Adam was made as to the flesh (factum ex muliere, 
as St. Paul says, Galat. iv. 4) from the virginal body of the 
second Eve, mother of the faithful, so that she might have said 
of Him, " Behold now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." 
What closer or more intimate connection with God can possibly 
be conceived than this ? What nearer tie ? For here there is 
not one intermediate link or connection, as in every other union 
with Him, as through love, or contemplation, or grace, or even 
vision. There is actual contact, a participation of being, if so 
we may speak. Truly then is Mary pronounced exalted in 
dignity above the highest and purest of God s angels, seeing 
that she possesses a degree incommunicable to any other 
creature, which theirs is not, and, moreover, not to be rivalled 
in any other way, nor imitated, nor approached, " Nee primam 
simileiii visa est, nee habere sequentem." 

2. Reflect upon the exalted privileges which this relationship 
conferred on her. To bear within her womb for nine months 
the Son of God, incarnate for our salvation, to suckle Him an 
infant with her milk, to nurse Him in her bosom, to bear Him 
in her arms when His life was sought, during His flight into 
Egypt- Tlien as, after the manner of other infants, he allowed 
His divine intelligence to dawn, to hear Him call her by the 
fond name of mother ! to see in His beaming eyes the purest 
expression of gratitude and affection ; to feel Him return her 


embrace, whenever, she pressed Him to her bosom ; to be 
served by Him with duty and reverence, to place her meek 
commands on Him who ruled the universe, and ordered the 
heavens ! Could anything go beyond these high prerogatives, 
or could any created being have imagined such a sublime 
dignity as they imply ? Then reflect what a pitch of perfec 
tion she who enjoyed them must have reached. Pass over 
the immense virtue with which God must have adorned her 
to qualify her for her high destiny. It will be enough to 
consider, can she have borne so long in her bosom this burning 
coal of charity, and her heart not have been inflamed with far 
more than a seraph s love I Can a prayer of hers have fallen 
to the ground, who had, kneeling beside her, Him through 
whom prayer is granted, and to whom nought can be denied ? 
Can she have ever forgot the presence of God, who dwelt under 
the same roof with Him made man 1 Can she have ever 
slackened or been lukewarm in virtue, on whom the Son of God 
ever smiled in encouragement and more than kindness "? Who 
can measure the perfections of Mary, and the unattainable, nay, 
almost inconceivable dignity, to which they raise her ? No, 
we may well say that not even an Angel s intelligence can 
span them ; for they are the nearest thing to God which any of 
His creatures can reach. 

3. Affections. "O ever blessed Virgin, Mother of God, 
surely thy supreme dignity, and the immense height at which 
thou art placed above my unworthiness, should make me feel a 
deep reverence and awe towards thee, and a dread of approaching 
thee with too much familiarity. But no ; thou art so meek, 
so gentle, so amiable and loving, that I know not how, in spite 
of thy sublime dignity, I cannot look up to thee with other 
feelings than affectionate devotion. And how can it be other 
wise when I consider that whatever thou hast gained as the 


Mother of my Saviour, thou hast gained for my sake and 
advantage ? Am I not His brother 1 Have not His own 
blessed lips pronounced as much ] And if thou art His 
Mother, must thou not also be mine ? Let me then temper 
the contemplation of thy excellent perfections and lofty eleva 
tion by the thought of what thou art to me. Yes, I will honour 
thee as the most perfect work of God s right hand. I will 



reverence thee as the most beautiful of His created conceptions. 
I will deeply venerate thee as the summit of all that is not 
God, yet still will I honour and reverence and venerate thee 
as a child may his loving mother. I will still call thee by this 
endearing name, and nothing shall induce me to forego this my 
right of being thy trustful and loving child." 

Jfirst ;Hontfj, CfjtrU Hafc. Simfcag. 

1. Reflect, that in our fallen and weak state some means of 
constant reparation was necessary to counteract our daily loss 
of grace and fervour, too apt to evaporate of themselves, and 
still more to be diminished and dried up by our hourly negli 
gences and transgressions. Prayer, meditation, the Word of 
God, and many other resources were indeed at hand, ready 
for our use ; but then all these depended for their efficacy upon 
ourselves, on our fervour and diligence, and were subject to the 
failings which rendered renovation of spirit and grace most 
necessary. The mercy of God soon found the remedy in the 
institution of the blessed Eucharist, in which the efficacy lies 
in the Holy Sacrament itself, containing, as it does, the sacred 
Body and Blood of our ever blessed Redeemer. He knew how 
cold our hearts habitually are, and, therefore, instead of telling 
us to draw nigh unto His warmth, that of it we might partake, 
He puts the whole fire glowing with love and holiness into- 
our very bosoms, that it may heat us through and through. He 
knew that we are at every moment thirsty and faint, and He 
did not content Himself with calling to us, as Isaias, " Omnes 
sitientes venite ad me," but He placed in the midst of each of us 
the fountain of living waters springing up unto eternal life. 
He knew that we were languid and torpid in all good, and He 
transfused into our very hearts the principle of life and energy, 
and all power. Truly there is in this dealing of God with us 
an immensity of graciousness, a freeness of communication, 
such as man s limited conceptions of goodness never could 
have reached, and such as will be the wonder and admiration of 


blessed spirits for all eternity. Here then we have a daily 
food, able fully to supply the wear occasioned to the spiritual 
man by the world and his corrupt nature ; and this food no other 
than the Body and Blood of God s incarnate Son. 

2. Reflect, that if this be the food of the weak, it is still 
more the bread of the strong. Earth, to the just, who sighs 
after perfection, is a place of exile. He longs to be dissolved, 
and freed from the flesh, purely that he may be united to his 
God. Everywhere indeed he finds His image and he loves Him 
in it, and more ardently longs to be able more closely to 
embrace Him. Could he but do this in deed, could he appre 
hend Him intimately, and unite himself to Him completely, 
this would no longer be earth, a prison, a slavery ; it would be 
an anticipation of heaven and its joys. Well, would it have 
been credible that even the resources of Almighty power and 
all-bountiful goodness could have contrived and executed this 
consummation of our longings, this transformation of our state, 
this accomplishment, so to speak, of our end, even here below ? 
Yes, so it is. In this blessed Sacrament, God is communicated 
to us completely, not merely by outward contact, but by inward, 
intimate union, so that after receiving it we are, according to the 
expressions of the ancient fathers, Christophori and T/teophori, 
bearers within us of Christ and of God. This, of course, is 
effected in a manner suitable to our present condition, under a 
veil, and under a material covering, which may shroud the 
glories of the reality and exercise our faith. It is thus that 
the blessed Eucharist may truly be called a Divine Sacrament, 
and a Heavenly Sacrament, from its containing all that heaven 
can give us of divine. But further reflect, how by this means 
the blessed Eucharist is in truth the completion, and as it were 
the natural consequence of the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, 
the Godhead was united to human nature, .that so man might 
be partaker of the Divinity: so in this adorable Sacrament, the 
person of the God- Man is presented to us in the form of bread, 
that so each of us may be in some manner partaker of it, and 
incorporated with it. Our dear Lord was not content to be 
amongst us, He desired to be within us : He was not satisfied 
with belonging to our kind, He desired to belong to every indi 
vidual : He did not think it enough to be seen and touched by 

D 2 


the few who had the happiness of knowing Him in the flesh, 
unless those who came after, to the end of time, as St. Macarius 
writes, " could have the same blessing." Therefore did He insti 
tute this most blessed of Sacraments, wherein His life and presence 
among men in the body is perpetuated, and extended to all. "We 
have seen how the sublime superiority to every other created 
being, conferred on the blessed Virgin consists in her mother 
hood, inasmuch as God was more closely united to her than to 
any other, by taking flesh from her body. Incommunicable as this 
singular prerogative is, we come as near it as possible by receiv 
ing within our bodies the sacred body which He received from 
her. What a combination of super-excellent attributes is found 
in this adorable Sacrament ! How completely is it worthy of 
God, how completely answerable to all our necessities ! 

3. Affections. Prostrate your heart at the foot of God s 
altar where this blessed Sacrament reposes, and say ; " 0, dear 
Jesus, truly present in this mystery of Thy boundless love, so 
inscrutable art Thou in it, yet so brought down to our level, so 
royally magnificent yet so familiar, so divine, yet so human, 
that I know not whether awe or confidence, reverence or love, 
should predominate in our feelings towards Thee ! But for me, 
at least, let the latter ever subdue the former : let my heart 
ever glow with ardent and earnest love, for the unspeakable gift 
Thou hast given us in this most precious Sacrament. Love for 
love, heart for heart, body for body, being for being, do I wish 
to render Thee. Thou hast communicated and made over 
Thyself unreservedly to me ; surely I shall do but little enough, 
if I offer Thee as unreserved a return. Take me then, with 
all my weaknesses and wretchedness to be Thine, unworthy as 
I am of Thee. Make me the servant of this adorable Sacra 
ment, ready to give my life, if necessary, to vindicate it from 
insult, to advance its honour, and to multiply its worshippers. 
Daily may I approach it, and partake of it, when possible ; 
repeatedly may I adore it, present or absent, that, united daily 
more closely with Thee, I may begin my heaven here below, to 
prolong it hereafter to all eternity." 


JFtrst fHontfj, I;trtJ 2Rcck. fftonttag. 

1. Reflect that hell is the punishment inflicted by God on sin. 
To form some idea, therefore, of its character, we must consider 
these two points, its author and its object. It is certain that 
when God undertakes His own work, there is none to control 
or check Him ; the power of the attribute which He is pleased 
to display, is the only measure of its exercise. When He is 
merciful His mercy knows no bounds; we can conceive no 
bounty or kindness too excessive for Him to have conferred. 
When He rewards, it is so as that " no heart can conceive " the 
amplitude of His retributions. In like manner when His 
justice has a claim to be exercised, when, after having slept, it 
is let loose upon an object that calls it down, it must be as 
boundless, as powerful, as immeasurably active as His other 
attributes. But against what is it to be exerted in hell 1 
Against sin, against His deadly, implacable foe, His abhorrence, 
His curse, the only object which He hates or can hate, the 
object, consequently, which concentrates all the energy of His 
justice. In it He sees nothing to arrest or mitigate His wrath 
or His infliction. It is no longer sin as existing in a sinner, 
while there was chance of amendment by repentance, but sin 
in its essential deformity, unchangeable, irremovable for ever. 
He sees it not any longer as recalling to mind the propitiation 
of His Son, or His intercession ; but it is sin now become 
inexpiable, beyond the reach of even His all-efficacious blood. 
It is no longer sin as the object of forgiveness, the object and 
matter for the exercise of mercy, but sin obstinate and unpar 
donable, because rejecting mercy with disdain. Hence it is 
in truth the fuel of vengeance, the mark for all the arrows of 
His wrath, the object of His unmitigated detestation. What 
a place then must that be, where sin has thus to stand eternally 
subject to the unrelenting infliction of punishment proportioned 
to those His feelings, and to the strength of His arm ! To 
enter the more into this important reflection, run over in your 
mind the lesser punishments with which God has visited sin 
while yet it was the season of mercy, the time of indulgence 


and pardon. Consider the Deluge, that frightful, universal 
scourge, whereby millions of men, women, and children, animals, 
and all the works of men s hands, were mingled in one con 
fusion of death, and earth was drowned in one torrent of destruc 
tion, in punishment of sin. Consider Sodom and Gomorrha 
buried under a mass of burning brimstone showered from 
heaven for their grievous sin, and their pleasant places changed 
into noisome pools and black desolation. Think of all the 
foul diseases, the plagues and miseries which we are subject to, 
and the agonies of death, all which are but the offspring and 
punishment of sin even on earth ; and then judge what hell 
will be, which inflicts its punishment so that mercy cannot 

2. Hell is not simply the place appointed to punish sin in 
general, but to punish my sins, in particular. It is my due ; 
it is where I should long since have been, but for the unspeak 
able mercies of my God. It is a pit dug deep and wide, and 
furnished with all manner of woes and torments for my special 
chastisement. Whatever room there may be in it for millions 
of others, this is the frightful thought ; that in hell there is 
a bed of fire spread for me, every time I offend my God, and 
that one sign from Him at that moment would chain me down 
to it for all eternity. And have I ever been so mad as to risk 
for one moment this frightful possibility ? At any rate I will 
not be so senseless again; and if through God s mercy I can now 
consider myself free from this condition, I will take care not to 
expose myself to the danger of it, by offending Him again. 
Surely this view of hell is one that too seldom is allowed to 
occupy our thoughts. We consider it as something intended for 
mankind in general ; we seldom look at it as our own inheritance 
and deserts, as being made ready and kept kindled for each of 
us, whenever we transgress His law, till the tears of our 
repentance quench its flames. For each of us has, so to speak, 
his own avenging flame, in that vast conflagration which he 
kindles or extinguishes by his own breath, as he sins or as he 

3. Resolutions. " If such be the case, as it undoubtedly is, 
I am fixedly resolved, so far as I am concerned, that my part 
in this scene of woe shall be that of an earnest spectator, but 


never that of a sufferer. I will meditate often upon it ; I will 
try to fathom the depth, and measure the extent of its abyss 
and manifold woes ; I will engrave all its horrors deeply on my 
mind ; never will I consent to anything which will bring me 
even within its borders. It shall ever impress ine with a 
salutary fear, a fear which shall prevent my ever risking a step 
too near its brink, lest I should lose my footing and fall into it 
headlong. But Thou alone, my good and merciful God, who 
hast prepared the scourge, canst teach and assist me to escape 
it ; and only in Thy power and Thy goodness do I presume to 
hope. I, on my part, have pledged myself solemnly, before 
Thee and Thy saints, to escape the frightful torments prepared 
for Thy enemies and rebels. An enemy or a rebel to Thee, 
nothing, with Thy help, shall ever make me. With those I 
will never have a portion either in this life or in the next. 
Ratify, dear Lord, and secure this my resolution/ 

JHrst fHontfj, (Cfjirti SHcek. 

same as Christ s. 

1. Reflect how far superior the priesthood of Jesus Christ 
was to all that had gone before it. The priesthood of Aaron 
and his house was, in fact, nothing more than the shadow of 
His, and received its dignity entirely from this partial reflection 
of His glorious prerogatives. To express this superiority, our 
Saviour is said to be " a priest for ever, according to the order 
of Melchisedec," because the superiority of Melchisedec s 
priesthood to Aaron s could not be disputed. We know what 
were the high prerogatives of the Levitical priesthood in the 
Jewish law ; thus we may form some faint comparative esti 
mate of the sublime dignity of Christ s, and, consequently, of 
ours. For Christ ordained His Apostles to be His priests and 
representatives on earth, discharging in succession the functions 
of His priesthood. In the line of this succession we shall 
stand. We have been adopted by the Sacrament of Orders 
into the Levitical family of which Jesus is the Aaron, the 


fountain of our authority, the well - spring from which the 
stream of Apostolic succession now, Now He ****** 
His Apostles that He sent them even as His Heavenly Fathei 
had sent Him, with all the plenitude of His power, to be of 
course transmitted, in just measure and proportion, according 
to different degrees and offices, in the Church. The Apostles, 
therefore, and we their successors, are in possession of 
priesthood of Christ. What a dignity, but what a burden, tc 
bear the same high charge as He ; to succeed Him in His sacer 
dotal functions ; to assume the same character, a character that 
fulfilled all proph^ic types, figures, and emblems so magmJ 
cently instituted by God Himself in the Old Law. 

2 Reflect that, in addition to, or rather in correction of this, 
we are not so much the successors as the representatives of 
Christ in His priesthood. The great characteristic of 
sacerdotal dignity is that it dies not, but is perpetual. He is 
a priest for ever/ And St. Paul (Heb. vii. 23) mentions 
this as the leading distinction of Christ s priesthood compared 
with Aaron s. " Ideo plures facti sunt sacerdotes, quod morte 
prohiberentur permanere." In Him is the completeness, the 
fulness of the priesthood. Whoever, therefore, are His priests 
on earth are only so as His vicars or procurators, exercising 
His functions in His name, and not only by His authority and 
delegation, but in His person. It is not the voice of man that 
speaks when, in the sacred tribunal of penance, Ave utter the 
solemn words, " I absolve thee," but the voice of God, who 
alone can forgive sins. It is not by his own act that the priest 
judges between leprosy and leprosy, sin and sin, but only by 
the Divine power with which he is invested for that purpose. 
So completely is the authority Christ s, that the words of the 
priest are valid in heaven ; whose sins he forgives they are for 
given, whatever he loosens on earth is loosed also in heaven. 
But it is chiefly in celebrating the Divine mysteries of the 
Eucharist that the priest actually puts on the person of Jesus 
Christ, utters words which His adorable lips alone could 
truly speak, and offers up a sacrifice of which He alone can be 
truly priest. But this is too important a subject to be merely 
treated slightly ; it will deserve deeper meditation. Our priest 
hood, therefore, partakes, or should partake, of the characteristics 


of Christ s. First, like His, it is eternal ; not only by belong 
ing to that order of succession which He has pledged His 
word shall last to the end of time, but because the character 
impressed on us at our ordination is indelible ; no earthly 
power, no authority of the universal Church can destroy it. 
The very fire of hell cannot burn out from the soul the seal of 
ordination. It is, like His, a universal priesthood, inasmuch 
as wherever we go we cannot strip ourselves of its character. 
Its functions, if duly performed, are equally valid in any part 
of the world. If we are so unhappy as to fall into grievous 
sin, or place ourselves in situations unbecoming our degree, we 
cannot divest ourselves of our sacerdotal obligations, but must 
fall as priests and degrade ourselves as priests. In fine, His 
priesthood is all holy. Alas ! how little must mine resemble 
His in this respect. Here, indeed, it would be difficult to dis 
cover how I can be considered as capable of a participation of 
His priesthood, so dissimilar as I am in character and conduct, 
and having so little in common with His virtues and perfection. 
But may I not at least try at humble distance to follow Him, 
my great High Priest, and, by copying Him, endeavour to bo 
less unworthy than I now am of being one of His ministers, 
a member of His Divine priesthood 1 Such, with His grace, 
I will study henceforth to be. 

3. Affections. " Is it possible, my dear Lord, that I should 
indeed be admitted to so high an honour as the participation of 
Thy priesthood, and have reflected so little upon it as I have I 
Is it possible Thou shouldst have chosen for this sublime office 
one so unworthy of it in every sense 1 Shame to me that the 
knowledge of the dignity conferred upon me by Thy bound 
less mercy should not in a manner have compelled me to render 
myself less disqualified than I am for its enjoyment. Thou, O 
Jesus, art the High-Priest, holy, unspotted, separated from 
sinners ; and I, Thy minister, Thy representative in the most 
solemn duties of Thy office, am loaded with sins and defile 
ments, and like one of the common herd of those who offend 
Thee. Bat it is not too late, even now, to begin, if Thou wilt 
renew a right spirit within me, and prepare me for the grace to 
be bestowed upon me by the imposition of hands. Send down 
Thy good spirit upon me, that my first fervour may never be 


lost Assist me ever to look up towards Thee as my model in 
this my awful charge, to study and copy Thee, that so I may 
have a part in Thee both here and hereafter. 

Jirst fHontfj, Cfjirt 

Blessed Saviour s Character. 

1 Reflect how, if man had been left to draw the outline of 
a character for the Son of God made man, he would have pro 
bably erred regarding the virtues he would have attribute* 
Him, as much, and in the same way, as the Jews did respecting 
His public character. We should have imagined to ourselves 
something brilliant, almost to dazzling. We should have sup 
posed Him so wrapped up in sublime contemplation as to have 
scarcely condescended to treat of earthly things ; so fence 
round by the manifestations of unparalleled sanctity as to be ap 
proached only with dread or hesitation by the few with whom 
He conversed. We should have fancied Him walking through 
life with a grandeur of virtue, a certain magnificence of per 
fection which no one could for an instant think of taking as 
his aim or model. Now had Jesus been such as all this, and, 
consequently, a most rigid observer of the law, severe in fasting 
and other mortifications, He would only have appeared as 
supreme in the order of the Scribes and Pharisees, as per 
fect in the perfection of His nation, kit not as the Saint of 
Saints, the perfectest in the eyes of the entire human species. 
And this it is that He must appear to all who diligently and 
lovingly study His character. We are indeed astonished when 
we read how He was so affable that a sinner, upon his conver 
sion, should have the boldness to invite Him to feast with him 
in his house, as did Zaccheus and St. Matthew. This little 
trait alone proves that, while He could by His superior power 
overawe transgressors, and bring them to repentance, they lost 
none of their affection for Him by the complete abandonment 
of their ill-gotten goods which He insisted on ; and that they 
were under no apprehension of their admiration of Him being 


impaired through treating Him with such familiarity. The great 
beauty and perfection of our Saviour s virtue consists in its perfect 
appropriateness to times and persons. There is no strict line 
to which He seemed to have inflexibly bound Himself; no pre 
dominant virtue, so to speak, which severely ruled over the 
rest and kept them in the background ; but each seemed ever 
ready for every occasion one always appears as perfect as the 
other ; and very little reflection upon any part of our Saviour s 
conduct will always convince us that He could not have there 
acted better than He did. Every alternation of zeal and of 
meekness, of sternness and condescension, of devotion and inter 
course, seems most seasonable, and His conduct in it the most 
perfect. He is as much the Son of God at the Pharisee s or 
publican s board, as He is upon Thabor, or at the tomb of 
Lazarus. In this manner is He distinguished from His Saints 
as from the rest of men. For among them He is pleased to dis 
tribute His gifts, that so we may the better contemplate sepa 
rately those excellencies which were united in Him. Thus He 
made a St. Thomas of Villanova remarkable for his love of 
poverty, a St. Francis of Sales for his sweetness, a St. John of 
the Cross ardent for afflictions, a St. Philip Neri cheerful and 
kind-hearted. But in Him none of these virtues, though pos 
sessed in a degree which shows theirs to have been but faint 
copies, obtains such preponderance as to be a leading virtue 
to the disparagement of others. Such was our dear Lord s 
character, made up of a thousand hues of bright perfection, but 
all blended together in exquisite harmony. 

2. Reflect how our Lord s virtues have thus been made, how 
ever unattainable, at least imitable. We can study them with 
out being dazzled, and in reference to circumstances ; and thus 
can make them a model for our own conduct. For His vir 
tues never seem to have been practised merely for the purpose 
of making an act of virtue, but because the time and place 
required Him to act just as He did. We have thus a key for 
ascertaining His motives, and can lay up a collection of moral 
axioms as to how we ought to act in the like circumstances ; 
axioms which never can mislead us, when practically applied. 
He is thus to us a living model ; not a mere picture of possible 
perfection, but one which we feel we may in some degree copy 


Avitli hopes of success. It is, in fact, remarkable that some of 
the sublimest virtues seem more imitable in Jesus than in some 
of His servants, though far superior to them. I think I could 
more easily copy the meek silence wherewith He endured in 
dignity and cruelty than the eagerness with which some 
martyrs ran to their sufferings. And so may we say of His 
other perfections. They all seem practicable because they are 
never intrusive. We can easily copy them, because in their 
occasions we can discover their reason. 

3. Affections. Say to your Blessed Saviour with all your 
heart, " my dear Lord, how shall I ever sufficiently thank 
Thee for Thy excessive condescension to me, wretched and 
sinful, in thus stripping Thyself of the glory of virtue itself on 
my account. Thou hast sought to bring down Thy perfection 
in a manner to the level of my comprehension and the reach of 
my imitation. Thou wast pleased to give up the more abstract 
and sublime exercise of virtue, and prefer the more practical 
and imitable. Thou didst lower thyself even below what the 
assumption of our manhood required, that Thou mightst be my 
model. Blessed for ever be this Thy graciousness ! And 
surely, when Thou hast stooped so low to teach me, it is but 
little on my part to try td learn. This, dear Lord, with Thy 
aid, J will do with heart and soul, so long as Thou grantest me 
life. One thing, however, I ask of Thee. Give me to come 
as near as possible to Thy perfection, but let my virtue, when 
I possess it, be as retiring, as prudent, as seasonable as Thine. 
Let me never seek for the eyes of men, and let man s eyes never 
seek for me. Let me be virtuous for Thee alone ; make me 
perfect for Thyself alone. Let mankind judge of me but as of 
one of the many who aim at salvation, while in Thy eyes let 
me be as one who strides on eagerly for perfection. Thus shall 
thy Heavenly Father, who seeth in secret, one day give me my 


JFirst fHontfj, 
MISSIONARY DUTIES. On the Missionary Life. 

1. Reflect that if the priesthood contains the plenitude of the 
Apostolic ministry, it is only when discharged in the missionary 
life, to which by God s mercy we have been called. Every 
priest occupies the place of the Apostles, in delegation from his 
bishop, when he offers up the adorable Sacrifice, or forgives sins 
in the tribunal of penance. But all are not, like them, sent to 
carry the light of God to such as sit in darkness and the shadow 
of death. The missionary is sent even thus ; he is an Apostle 
of God. Now reflect a moment upon what we ought to be who 
undertake this awful duty. Men ready to undergo all things 
for Christ, serving Him through disinterested love, and from a 
more than brotherly love for the souls He has redeemed ; men 
armed for ever in His cause, ever prepared to combat and beat 
down all His foes, whether under the form of error or immo 
rality ; men detached from the world, meek, resigned, making 
themselves all to all that they may gain all. Alas ! how far 
am I from possessing the smallest share of these excellent 
qualities. How infinitely short do I fall beneath the cha 
racter to which God has called me. Further, the missionary is 
the angel of God. He is a messenger sent to announce to the 
people the great tidings of salvation, the whole counsel of God 
in their behalf. He is sent to lead them out of the Egypt of 
heretical bondage, from the land covered with palpable dark 
ness, to one flowing with milk and honey the rich pastures of 
the true Church. He is sent " to prepare for God a perfect 
people." He goes before His face, to make the crooked ways 
straight and the rough smooth, that so His grace may enter in, 
and He may dwell among them. The angel of God ! What 
a title ! what purity and holiness does it not imply in the cha 
racter of him who bears it ! What a readiness to do the will 
of God, what a pleasure in obeying His smallest commands does 
it not suppose in me ! How unworthy then must I be to 
bear it. 

2. Reflect upon the character and qualifications required for 
the missionary life in our own country. The time is indeed 


gone by, when I might have reasonably supposed myself as 
going over the threshold of this house to probable death for my 
priestly character ; but it is certain that if I go hence with the 
determination to do my duty, I go to opposition, perhaps to 
persecution. It is a time when the decay of Catholic piety 
will probably cost to a sensitive mind more pain than heretical 
asperity did of old. If I am resolved to exert myself for the 
revival of true Catholic fervour and practices, I must expect 
obloquy, sneers, and even graver assaults. I must expect to 
be treated as a fanatic, an innovator, and a proud spirit. All 
this I must be prepared to endure, With persons of different 
religion, I must expect no less severe a conflict. If I attack 
error, and push forward the cause of truth, as I must and as 
I desire, I shall probably be called illiberal, uncharitable, a 
sower of hatred and enmities. This, therefore, I must be 
ready to bear for the cause of God, and for the fulfilment of 
His commission. And what must be my arms in this twofold 
conflict ? Meekness, and confidence in God. I am forewarned 
that opposition and probably persecution may be my lot ; it 
cannot take me by surprise. I cannot excuse anger, resentment, 
or any other unchristian feeling by the unexpectedness of ill- 
treatment. If my mind be determined to labour for God, so 
as even to suffer for Him, it must be no less made up to suffer 
as will please Him, that is, with meekness and resignation. 
Meekness, then, must be my outward badge, but inwardly I 
must be filled with a firm trust in the power and grace of God. 
This will supply me with zeal, with fervour, with constancy, 
with assiduity, and with perseverance in the discharge of my 
duties, and the fulfilment of my resolutions. " Sperans in 
Domino, non infirmabor." " Dominus illuminatio mea et salus 
mea, quern timebo 1 . . . . Parasti in conspectu meo mensam, 
adversus omnes tribulantes me." With the table of life at my 
command I shall have a ready comfort, and refreshment in all 
the troubles and uneasinesses of life. I shall have God ever 
present with me. 

3. Affections. Say to God, with all your heart, " The 
task to which Thou hast called me, my God, is far beyond 
my deserts, or my strength. I to be Thy apostle ! I to aspire 
to the character of Thy messenger, Thy precursor, Thy angel ! 


Shall I, then, shrink back into the thought of my own un- 
worthiness, and, Jonas-like, retreat from Thy high commission 
from dread of its troubles and dangers 1 Shall I ask Thee to 
send others more qualified by learning and virtue into Thy 
vineyard, which the boar from the wilderness hath eaten up ? 
On the contrary, my dear Lord, the less fit I am for this great 
office, the fitter instrument I am for Thee. The viler I am in 
Thine eyes, the more foolish and ignorant, the weaker and 
more despised, the better qualified I am for the office of an 
apostle, whose duty it is to confound, through Thee, the wise 
and the strong. Ecce ego, therefore, mitte me. Show 
forth Thy power, Thy magnificence, as it delights Thee ever to 
do, by choosing one, the most unworthy, to labour in the resto 
ration of the Catholic spirit, to revive lost piety, and true fer 
vour in practices exclusively Catholic. Make me an apostle iii 
zeal and patient endurance, the angel of peace to many ; but 
take me under the special patronage of Thy right arm, and 
bear me through all dangers and trials, for Thou art my God." 

JFirst fHontfj, fjirtt 83ccfe. Jtfoag. 
THE PASSION. THE PRJETORIUM. Our Saviour is scourged. 

Preparation. Imagine to yourself your blessed Redeemer 
tied to a column, and cruelly scourged by the Roman soldiery. 

1. Reflect upon the impious conduct of Pilate, when he 
declared to the Jews that he would correct Jesus and let Him 
go. Impious and blasphemous idea ! To correct Him who is 
the wisdom of the Eternal Father, the light and splendour of 
Heaven, the teacher and inspirer of prophets, the joy of the 
angels, purity, holiness, perfection itself ! And who is this 
that undertakes to correct Him 1 One of the lewdest, unjustest, 
most tyrannical, most odious of heathens ! He undertakes to 
teach morality and virtue to the spotless Son of God ; he pro 
poses to chastise Him for impiously imputed crimes, and to 
send Him into the world again, an amended man ! And how 
was this correction to be effected ? By the scourge ! By the 
punishment of slaves, of the vilest of mankind ! Good God 1 


Is it possible that the worst malice of the devil can have 
imagined the possibility of such thoughts being entertained by 
wicked man, and can have suggested them to their minds ? Is it 
conceivable that the blindness of passion could have led any 
one into such an excess of madness as is implied in entertaining 
such an idea ? But besides this mockery of all virtue, how 
insane was the hope of slaking the thirst of blood displayed by 
the furious mob, by causing some to flow. As well might he 
have hoped to stay the thirst-worn traveller in the desert from 
hastening on, by showing him at a short distance a pool of 
water. It was but exciting still further their savage cry for 
His blood ; it was encouraging them to press on eagerly till they 
should procure His death. 

2. Reflect how Pilate actually proceeds to the execution of 
his infamous offer, which he even fancies is a kindness and a 
favour to Jesus ! He delivers Him up to his Roman soldiers 
to be scourged. Now contemplate at leisure the scene that 
follows. He is placed in the hands of probably the most 
hardened race of men on earth ; men inured to carnage ; every 
one of them ready, when commanded, to be an executioner, 
the office reserved in later times for one who is deemed an 
outcast; men who hate the stranger and the conquered, and 
who ever bore a particular antipathy to the Jewish nation. 
Now to the absolute power of these men Jesus is abandoned ; 
they see given up to them, not a hardened, rough criminal, one 
like themselves, whom they would probably have sympathized 
with, or whom they would have thought it but an e very-day 
occupation to torture, but one whose very appearance proves 
Him to be of the noblest descent, and of the tenderest frame 
one whose modesty and bashfulness is keenly sensitive to the 
disgraceful exposure to nakedness and ignominious punish 
ment one whose meek and calm demeanour, so at variance 
with their brutality, stimulates their savage cruelty still more, 
one whose alleged crime is the desire and attempt to drive 
them and their whole race out of Palestine, and overthrow 
their empire, which gives them, for their bread, the plunder of 
the world. What wonder that the scourging inflicted by these 
hardened wretches should have even been represented as one of 
the cruellest parts of our blessed Redeemer s passion 1 What 


wonder that Ho Himself should have almost always alluded to 
it when He spoke of His crucifixion 1 For if to any man it 
was so disgraceful an infliction, that St. Paul himself pleaded 
his right as a Roman citizen in bar of its execution, what must 
it have been in this instance 1 ? Well, now see the innocent 
Lamb of God, surrounded by this ruffianly mob, the subject of 
their coarse jests and gross ribaldry ; such men as St. Ignatius 
Martyr afterwards characterized by the name of leopards. See 
how they strip Him with rude hands ; how tightly they bind 
His wrists, and tie Him to the pillar. Gracious God ! Is it 
possible that Thou wilt allow His virginal flesh to be touched 
by a scourge ; is it possible that Thou wilt permit the ignomi 
nious lash to tear and disfigure that most comely and holy of 
bodies, formed by Thine own immediate agency in the pure 
womb of Mary, the most precious work of Thy hands since the 
creation of the world ] Angels of God ! can you withhold 
your indignation 1 Can ye refrain from, rushing on this mad 
soldiery, and overthrowing (as ye did Heliodorus) those who are 
about to treat your Master, your happiness and joy, as a vile 
malefactor, as the lowest of slaves ; those who will proceed 
to tear and bruise His adorable body, and sprinkle His blood 
over that profane floor 1 But no : there seems to be no mercy, 
no pity for Jesus either on earth or in heaven : He is aban 
doned to the anger of God and the fury of man. The execu 
tioners surround Him with savage delight, and shower on Him 
their cruel blows, till He is covered with blood, and gashed 
and swollen over all His body. 

3. Affections. Pause for some time in the contemplation of 
this atrocious spectacle, which will form the subject of next 
month s meditation, and abstracting from the motive of your 
Saviours sufferings, excite yourself to a feeling of pure sym 
pathy for Him, as one whom you love, and say, " my most 
meek and loving Jesus ! is it possible that men can have been 
found so barbarous, so dead to every feeling of humanity, as 
thus brutally to treat Thee 1 ? Can anyone have endured for 
a moment the spectacle of Thy sacred body mangled, Thy limbs, 
which had never failed Thee in doing good, rent and bruised, 
Thy precious blood, every drop of which was a world s ransom, 
poured out in streams and trodden on by the vile wretches who 


are tormenting Thee] Oh, this was really too much to submit 
to; this portion of Thy sufferings ought surely to have been 
spared Thee ! Had it been any ordinary friend that was so 
treated, had it been a brother, or one most dear to me in t 
flesh I might at least have acknowledged that some sm or 
frailty had made him deserve it in the eyes of God. But Thou, 
the Holy One, the unstained, the perfect image of God, nay i 
Consubstantial Son, treated thus infamously, thus barbarously, 
art a sight beyond endurance ! How shall I ever love Thee as 
I ou-ht, after witnessing all this ! How much dearer oughtest 
Thou to be to me, bruised and torn, than if I had only known 
Thee comely and beautiful among the sons of men. Let me, 
however unworthy, sympathize in these Thy sufferings ; let me 
feel all their indignity, all their pain, and let me never be one 
of those whose hearts remain unmoved in the contemplation of 
Thy cruel treatment/ 

.first fElontij, 

living in an Ecclesiastical Community. 

1. Reflect upon the blessing which God has graciously 
granted you, in placing you in an ecclesiastical establishment, 
by thereby freeing you from a thousand dangers and anxieties, 
-.which are encountered in the world. You have been kept 
secure from the seductions of evil company, from the contagion 
of sinners, who would have tried to lead your feet into the 
slippery path of temptation, and, considering your weakness, 
would most probably have brought you to sin and perdition, 
much deeper than you have ever incurred. You have been 
kept at a distance from the tainted atmosphere of the world, 
from the thousand incentives to lust, to pride, to intemperance, 
to vain glory, which you would there have met. Well and 
truly may I reason thus : If here, within the enclosure of 
these blessed walls, temptations have pursued me, if the flesh 
rebels where all outside it is pure, if pride creeps in where all 
that I converse with are so much better than myself, what 


should I have been, if I had been exposed to the various occa 
sions which the world is sure to produce ? Or, rather, if while 
living in such seclusion, I have so often and so variously sinned 
grievously against God, what an utter reprobate I should, or at 
least, might have been, had my lot been cast amidst those who 
fear not God nor His law 1 Nor is it a small blessing to be 
kept free from the solicitudes of life, as we are who live in 
such a community as this. We have no thought to take about 
the day ; its wants are supplied almost without our thinking 
about them ; the petition for our daily bread, in this temporal 
sense, seems almost superfluous ; and the supply of all corporal 
and earthly "wants which our Divine Benefactor sends us is more 
than ample. We need have no solicitude about the morrow. 
Our lot has been truly cast into the bosom of the Lord, and 
the state of life for which this is a preparation, ensures us 
safety from the gnawing cares and anxieties of having to select 
a profession, or having to provide means for our success in it. 
Surely, if we understood well our present state, we should 
consider it one of great happiness, and ourselves particularly 
favoured by God, in having been early snatched from the 
perils and perplexities of the world, and placed out of their 

2. Reflect upon the blessing you have received in being thus 
placed where virtue is comparatively easy, and where oppor 
tunities and means of practising it are your natural occupation. 
We all know how important to salvation are meditation and 
prayer. . Yet how difficult to persons in the world, as experience 
has shown, is the regular exercise of either, from the multi 
plicity of their occupations. But with us these duties become 
necessary objects of employment; we are obliged, even when 
we feel disinclined for them, to attend them, and thus, even if 
fervour cannot be always obtained, neglect of vital duty is 
prevented. It is the same with the frequenting of the 
Sacrament, which is so enforced as not easily to be passed over 
at small intervals. Then the very regularity of our daily life, 
while it makes the day pass cheerfully and profitably, is a great 
security of our virtue. Whoever is well employed throughout 
the day in the discharge of his duty, the superior in his occu 
pations, the student in his studies, interrupted only at regular 

E 2 


intervals by other duties, can have but little room or time for 
foolish or bad thoughts. These never gain a footing in the 
mind, where the regular duties of the day have not been first 
neglected. Besides these helps to virtue, reflect how great a 
one we have in the mutual edification that surrounds us. 
" Ubi sunt duo vel tres in nomine meo congregati, ibi sum ego 
in medio eorum." All our duties being common, and performed 
in the name of Jesus Christ, He truly dwells amongst us. I 
have a constant spur to diligence in the assiduity and punctuality 
of many in the house; I have an unceasing reproof of my 
lukewarmness in the fervour which I see others possess : all 
around me I can find examples of virtue which shame me 
and reprove me, and which should, moreover, greatly encourage 
me. Oh, what a happy, what a beautiful life ours ought to be ; 
where, like brothers dwelling in unity, we might and ought to 
be a source of edification one to another ; where, engaged in the 
same or similar pursuits, aspiring to one and the same end, 
animated by the same holy principles, we should run together 
the same race, not in jealousy and envy, but in love and mutual 
encouragement, since there is a crown, for each. How perhaps 
we shall one day regret this happy retirement, wherein we 
dwell under the shadow of the Almighty s wing, and under the 
protection of His right hand ; against the Avails of which the 
billows of worldly trial beat in vain, and within which all is 
peace, cheerfulness, joy, and the desire to love God. Oh, let 
us often express, for one another s comfort, these sentiments ! 

3. Affections. These should be of gratitude to the Divine 
mercy which has bestowed upon you these blessings. "Never, 
Oh> inv g 0( l God and benefactor, never shall I cease to praise 
and bless Thee for Thy providential care of me. Thou hast 
drawn me out of the world, from the very jaws of its abyss, 
from the fearful whirlpool, which was dragging me perhaps, 
however imperceptibly, into its fatal current. Thou hast 
placed my feet in a wide place, upon a sure footing" 
" Dilatasti subtus me gressus ineos." Thou hast placed me 
while young, like Samuel, in the very porch of Thy tabernacle, 
where I may repose securely, and hear from time to time the 
voice of Thy calls, and Thy gracious intimations of Thy will. 
Open my eyes to see the nianv blessings Thou hast here 


bestowed, and expand my heart to value them, and thank Thee 
for them as I ought. " Blessed for ever and ever be Thy Holy 
Name ! " Then address yourself to the glorious patron of this 
h&ise, 8. Thomas of Canterbury : " Ever-blessed martyr of God, 
under whose patronage I now dwell, blessed be these walls 
wherein thou hast gathered us, that under thy protection we 
may imbibe some of that spirit which animated thee, of firm 
attachment to religion and the Church, of determination never 
in a tittle to sacrifice the cause of truth, of justice, or of God s 
law, but to persevere, even at the peril of life, in the active 
discharge of duty. Pray to the God of martyrs for this 
Messing upon us thy children, who daily kneel before thy altar, 
and have before our eyes the representation of thy blessed 

JFtvst i^Tontlj, JFouvtlj 

MEANS OF SAXCTIFICATIOX. On t/te obligation we have to be 


1. Reflect upon the strong obligation of being saints, which 
rests upon the express command of God. In the old law He 
said: "Be ye holy, because I your God am holy." (Lev. xx. 7.) 
Now this is a command given to the stiff-necked, carnal 
and earthly-minded Jews ; and if so much was exacted from 
them, how much more must we suppose it to be demanded 
from us 1 Nor can we say that it was a particular iniunction. 
intended only for them ; and that for two reasons. First, our 
God is the same as theirs was, consequently as holy now as 
then. If from His holiness it followed that all who owned 
and worshipped Him were to be holy, surely the consequence 
holds good as well for us ; and so, we must be holy because our 
God is holy. Secondly, the Jews were to be holy by the 
observance of the commandments which God had given them. 
Now we are bound to the same commandments ; the moral law 
given by God to them has been ratified in the New Covenant, 
and therefore we are hound to the consequence of a right 
observance of the commandments viz. sanctification. But 


further, reflect that in the New Law much more was clone 
than merely ratifying this command; it was enlarged im 
measurably "Be ye perfect," says our Divine Redeemer, 
as your heavenly Father is perfect." If holiness was mudi 
to demand of us, surely perfection was much more ; if we were 
to be holy then, because our Lord was holy, and that snould 
seem a heavy precept, what shall we say to this of being 
perfect as oL heavenly Father is perfect) Does notthis 
propose a measure or standard rather than a motive What 
an awful obligation is here imposed upon us ! How far above 
all hope of attainment are our strivings to be directed. Yet 
herein consists the wisdom of the precept, not only by its 
raising our views higher, and preventing our staying too low, 
but still more by its enkindling in us a holy ambition, at the 
thought that we can for a moment propose to ourselves the 
perfection of an all-good God for the term and aim of our 
feeble endeavours. 

2. Reflect how we are under the obligation of being saints, 
because we are under the obligation of ensuring our salvation. 
Now this can be done only by being saints. The world has 
indeed perverted this name and given it only to those whose 
extraordinary virtues are sup ernatur ally attested by God, or 
demonstrate themselves by unusual and splendid works. ^ But 
St. Paul calls all true Christians saints " ut decet sanctos ;" and 
we deceive ourselves if we fancy that any but saints, ^ in the 
proper meaning of the term, are saved. How foolish and 
thoughtless then it is, not to say impious, when we declare 
that " we have no desire or no ambition to be saints ; we shall be 
quite content to be saved. One of these assertions flatly belies 
and contradicts the other. For if we have not even the desire 
to be saints, we cannot have the desire of being saved. For 
who shall be saved that hath not kept the commandments ? 
" Si vis ad vitam ingredi, serva Dei mandata," was said to us at 
our baptism. Who shall be saved that hath not loved God 
above all things, yea with his whole heart and soul and 
strength 1 Who shall be saved that hath not taken up His 
cross, denied himself and followed Christ 1 ? Who shall be 
saved or dwell in His holy place that is not " innocens manibus 
et mundo corde," free from all sin and purged of all affection to- 


it ? And whoever doth all this, is he not truly a saint 1 
If then the standard of our sanctification was placed very high, 
it is because the price of our salvation is high : the one is but 
the measure of the other. 

3. Affections. Consider well- the dignity and high calling 
implied in this obligation of being saints, and form at once a 
generous and noble resolution of fulfilling it. Say therefore to 
God : " Oh, my supreme Lord and Master, is it possible that 
Thou canst design so worthless a creature as I am to be 
holy, a saint in Thy sight 1 Is it possible that Thou canst 
have addressed to me those great words, Be ye holy, for 
I am holy, Be ye perfect, as I am perfect ? But if Thou 
wilt, Thou canst make me not only clean but holy and 
perfect, according to my frail nature, in Thy sight. "Well, then, 
I will at once to the work, nothing doubting either Thy will 
or Thy power. I am determined to be saved, no matter what 
the cost or what the labour. I am bent upon gaining heaven, 
whatever the conditions of tlie acquisition. If these are my 
sanctification, my aiming at a state of holiness and perfection, 
not only do I submit to them with cheerfulness, but I embrace 
them with pride and joy. I thank Thee that Thou hast 
imposed them, because they will bring me close to Thee, even 
here below, and will give me opportunity of meriting Thy 
reward. But as the reward, so must the winning thereof be 
Thy gracious work : of myself Thou knowest I can do nothing, 
and therefore my sanctification must come from Thee. Help 
me then from henceforth. Let me never lose sight of this 
mighty and solemn obligation. Let me ever have before me 
these words : Thou art called to be a saint, do then the work 
of a saint ; and let me ever aspire by Thy help to advance in 
the way of holiness and perfection which Thou art." 

jFtrst iHontlj, JFourtfj 
LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. What is Heaven? 

1. Reflect that heaven is the place prepared by God for the 
reward of His elect. The mercies of God are beyond all His 


works ; they are incomprehensibly great, even when necessarily 
tempered by other attributes, which must always be the case 
here below, in our state of trial. Only in heaven will His 
mercies have their full claims recognized, without any check from 
justice; nay, justice itself will then coincide with them in all 
their designs. Judge from this how unbounded the gracious- 
ness and goodness of God must there be, and how infinite their 
manifestation. It is only by faint imagery drawn from our 
present condition that we can form anything like an approxi 
mating conception of the happiness they will produce. It is 
chiefly by negatives that we can imagine it, by the absence of 
those countless ills which form the common lot of our humanity. 
For the actual pleasures of this life are too base in general to 
be taken as any standard. We may fancy it, therefore, to be 
a happy place into which not a single cause of unhappiness 
can enter in which there will be neither sickness nor old age, 
decay nor feebleness. There will be no poverty, nor hunger, 
nor distress ; no cold nor excessive heat, no storms, no terrors 
physical or moral. There will be no wars or dissensions, no 
jarring interests, no envy, calumny, nor animosities ; no fore 
bodings of evil, no sense of instability, 110 danger of change ; 
no scruples nor anxieties in fine, no sin and no death. 
Instead of these various ills to which at present we are all 
subject, imagine the highest pitch of happiness, the consumma 
tion of all just desires, the greatest intensity of inward delight, 
and you will have formed a faint idea of this heavenly para 
dise. It is a place, the very essence and life of which is bliss : 
unalloyed, unalterable, interminable bliss. It is the possession 
of God, the enjoyment of God, the participation of God, the 
union with God. What more can we say than this to express 
the magnitude and multitude of its everlasting enjoyments ? 

2. Eeflect how heaven is the kingdom and house of God. 
Jesus Christ tells us that in His Father s house are " many 
mansions." That is, there is full room for us all. We, who 
have been called at the eleventh hour, need not be under appre 
hensions that we shall find it filled, so that there shall be 110 
room for us. There is happiness more than enough to satisfy 
all. The last that enters will be instantly filled to overflowing 
with joys and happiness, and an abundance will be left for an 


infinity of more worlds, should God be pleased to create them. 
It is an inheritance that knows no limits but the infinity of 
God. Consider how God has provided for us His children 
here, where we are on trial and in exile. He has given us the 
earth with all the good things thereof, besides the immense 
treasures of consolation and mercy laid up in His holy religion. 
Yet here we are only under tutelage and education, given up 
in great part to the severe discipline of the law. What, then, 
will His own house be, the home into which He has prepared 
to receive us, when our probationary term is ended, and we 
are acknowledged a part of His household, worthy to be recog 
nized in the rank of His children, sharers of the throne of His 
beloved Son Jesus ? Hence the word of God depicts the hap 
piness of that blessed home under corresponding images, when it 
describes the blessed souls there as sitting down at the table of 
God, filled with His good things. The heathens fancied a peculiar 
meat and drink proper to the gods and their favourites, sweet 
beyond all human conception ; and made those false divinities 
seated at a never-failing banquet. But in our heaven we shall 
be inebriated with a torrent of pleasure ; we shall be satiated 
with the glory itself of God ; we shall feast, without being 
cloyed, upon the contemplation of His essence, even as children 
of the same house, seated round His table. It will not be as 
on the return of the penitent prodigal, when an occasional 
feast is made here below, in the consolations of a reconciliation 
with him ; it will be the reward of the dear and favourite son, 
by the unreserved communication of every good thing. " Omnia 
mea tua sunt." We shall be truly then the children of God, in 
full enjoyment of riches incalculable, of honours sublime, of 
rights inalienable, of happiness unchangeable. We shall live 
for ever, with God, for God, and in God. 

3. Affections. " This heaven, too, is mine, all mine, if I will 
only take some small pains to gain it. The price might have 
been made as great as possible, such as to cost the labour of a 
life, yea a life in a desert, and it would not have been too great. 
But it is mine on cheap and easy terms. It is my birthright 
through Christ, it is my inheritance in God. I need not, like 
Jacob, cheat a brother out of his blessing to gain it, for it is 
destined for me. Great God ! and have I lost sight all my life 


of this great object of my hopes and desires ? Have I thought 
the road of salvation steep and rugged, a mountain path 
crooked and rough, when a glance onward to its goal would have 
shown me the open gate of Thy beautiful and joyful mansion, 
open wide to receive me, Thy banquet-board spread to cheer 
me, and Thyself with outstretched arms to embrace me, and 
with smiling eye to encourage me 1 There Thou pointest to 
the seat Thou hast already placed for me, Thou tellest me that 
iny crown is already woven by angels hands. And after this 
can I fail or stagger, or wander from the path that will bring 
me to Thee 1 . No, my God, never. On, on, my soul, for 
heaven, for the house of our God, for the fellowship of dear 
Jesus, for the smile of His and our mother, and the company 
of the saints. The path before us is short, a few years at 
most will tread it ; on, then, in the gladness of hope, in the 
aspirations of love ; and heaven is ours, and ours for eternity." 

.first ffiantfj, jFowrtjj TOwfe. 

1. Reflect what a beautiful virtue purity is. And for this 
purpose it is by no means necessary to contemplate the degra 
dation and defilement of its opposite vice. But consider it 
rather as it appears in those who never have known this. 
What is it that makes a child so endearing, and spreads such a 
charm upon his countenance and actions 1 It is the innocence 
which breathes in such, the purity of mind that appears as 
through a transparent veil. In proportion as the body and 
mind feel the impression of passion, this fresh and winning 
comeliness wears off. Though even passion be not yielded to, 
its very presence seems to mar the delicate beauty of God s 
work, and show that it is made of clay. But if it be not in 
our power entirely to prevent this encroachment upon the 
beauty of our regenerated souls, surely at least it behoves us 
to preserve as much as possible of that beauty by avoiding every 
voluntary defilement, which impure passion must cause. What 
a beautiful sight in the eyes of God and His angels must a soul 
be that walks unstained through the allurements of the world 


and the solicitations of the flesh, wrestling with corrupt nature, 
and triumphing over frailty, bearing a golden treasure in a frail 
vessel unspilt. To what can we liken it but to the three 
children in the fiery furnace unscathed by the flames around 
them, but giving praise to God from amidst the fire 1 Or to 
Daniel in the lions den, tranquil amidst their ferocity, and 
miraculously preserved from injury? Hence, to show the 
beauty of such rare souls, the Scripture likens them to a lily 
among thorns, a tender, pure, and fragrant flower growing 
untorn amidst briers and brambles. Hence in the Canticles 
every delicacy of Oriental poetry is lavished on the description 
of such favourites of God, who condescends to treat them as 
His spouses, the objects of His tenderest solicitude. Truly 
what a beautiful virtue that must be, which can entitle such 
miserable and contemptible creatures as we are to this high 
dignity ! Who shall be able adequately to explain its prero 
gatives or its sublimity 1 

2. Reflect how this virtue of purity is the one which most 
completely raises us up above the miseries of our fallen nature, 
and places us in a higher order of beings. We fell by sub 
jection to the senses ; the pure of heart, who have overcome 
them, and give them not their lusts, but live entirely according 
to the life of the spirit, and ever seek its advancement, return 
as much as possible to the original state of man before his first 
transgression. And their reward is with them even here ; for 
they live in a paradise of delights, eating of the tree of life, by 
the constant fruit which they derive from the grace, the sacra 
ments, and other means of sanctification appointed for them by 
their Maker. But they rise even higher, for they become as 
angels, the characteristics of whom are " quod neque nubent, 
neque nubentur," that living in the spirit alone, without any 
corporeal addition, they are free from every unruly appetite, 
from all rebellion of unlawful desires. Now this is, as far as 
may be, the condition, at least it is the aim, of chaste and pure 
souls. If, then, after the resurrection, all who are in bliss 
shall be "sicut angeli Dei," on this very account, what a 
glorious virtue this must be which already, while encumbered 
by this flesh of sin, exalts us to the condition of these blessed 
spirits. Nay, it raises us still higher ; for it makes us aspire, 
in however lowly a degree, after that sublime perfection which 


qualified Mary to be the Mother of God. For it was her sin 
gular purity which rendered her the peculiar object of God s 
complacency, and worthy to be so closely allied to Him in the 
flesh. Now we who love her, and must think it the greatest 
glory to be pleasing to her, and somewhat to resemble her, 
ought surely to love and value that virtue above all others, 
which forms the very essence, as it were, of her trans cendant 
beauty and perfection. Still more does this virtue make us 
resemble the Son of God when in the days of His Humanity. 
For while He took upon Himself all the other effects of sin, 
while He submitted to every other class of wretchedness, He 
declined and refused only that of concupiscence, not allowing 
in Himself the rebellion of the flesh against the spirit. Thus 
did He show that purity was to Him the dearest of virtues, 
and that He could not submit to even any temptation against 
it. Shall we not then aspire with all our hearts to nourish 
and acquire it, shall we not reject with horror and disgust any 
thought or idea that can be contrary to it or defile our souls ? 

3. Affections. Represent to yourself this virtue under the 
image of the blessed Mother of God, bearing your infant Saviour 
in her bosom ; and say, " Most beautiful and lovely of virtues, 

1 have solemnly at the feet of God s altar chosen thee as my 
portion, and again I choose thee as the object of my most fer 
vent aspirations and earnest endeavours. I will jealously 
watch over myself to keep out of my heart and my mind any 
thing that can injure thee, or even slightly impair thee. I will 
value thee beyond gold and precious stones, as a much greater 
treasure in the sight of God. And then, O my dear Lord and 
Saviour, make me in this respect, as far as possible, conform 
able to Thy image, that I may study to nourish and perfect in 
myself this most blessed of virtues, that I may reject with detesta 
tion every suggestion contrary to it, that I may keep my ima 
gination and my thoughts fixed on Thee, and Thee crucified ; 
and thus be averted from all that can fan the fire of the flesh. 
And thou, Mother of chaste love, spotless maid, glory of Israel 
and beauty of Carmel, take under thy special care my senses 
and my mind, that nothing may enter to defile them : but ever 
make me love above all others the virtue which thou beyond all 
others dost represent." 


jFirst iHontfj, jFourtlj 

of our Saviours Teaching. 

Preparation. Imagine our Lord such as He is generally 
represented, surrounded by an immense multitude eagerly 
listening to the instructions Avhich He delivers with mild 
and gracious accents. 

1. Reflect how our blessed Saviour is described to us as 
teaching, "as one having authority, and not as the Scribes 
and Pharisees. What dignity and grace, then, must we not 
suppose to have been exhibited in His person ; what majesty in 
His countenance, what impressiveness in His gesture, what 
solemnity in His tones, and what sweetness and unction in His 
words ! When we read that great multitudes followed Him 
into the wilderness, and for days forgot their homes, their 
worldly interests, and their daily sustenance in hanging upon 
His words, what an idea must we not form of the marvellous 
charm that invested His sacred person arid played in His 
accents ? When we see men abandoning their nets, their 
parents and their homes at His simple call, or leaving their 
worldly concerns, as Matthew did, to follow Him, upon a, 
simple invitation to do so, we may form some notion of what 
His look and voice possessed of grace and power. What must 
these have been when eloquently expatiating upon the precepts 
of love, or the sublime revelations of the gospel ? With what 
authority must He haA e taught, with an energy how far 
beyond that of the Scribes and Pharisees, when He lashed 
their vices and made them quail under His reproof? But, 
further, He taught, not as these men, because He taught with 
meekness and condescension. These arrogant men repelled 
from themselves with scorn the poor and sinners, and treated 
the rest of mankind as far their inferiors, especially in all that 
concerned virtue and perfection. Not so Jesus. Although 
He was truly holy and pure unto all perfection, He was always 
most humane and gracious, condescending and affable. He 
received the most flagitious, when penitent, with open arms, 
and ate and familiarly discoursed with them. He mingled 


among the poorest as one of themselves ; He instructed the 
ignorant with patience and assiduity. None were afraid to 
approach Him and learn from Him. How delightful must it 
have been to have and to hear such a master ! Lastly, Jesus 
taught as one having authority and not as the Scribes and 
Pharisees, because He did not, like them, lay intolerable 
burdens upon men s shoulders, which they touched not with a 
finger of their own, but He practised all that He taught, was 
an exemplification of all His maxims, the model of all His 
school. Did He teach men to be poor in spirit, and to despise 
earthly comforts 1 He was as poor as they, when He might 
have been richer than the Roman emperor, by a wish ; and He 
chose not to have where to lay His head. Did He tell them to 
be meek under calumnies and persecutions 1 Well, He suffered 
the most severe, and He suffered with unconquerable patience. 
Did He forbid the requiting of evil with evil, and command us 
to pray for those who injure us ? This and even more did He 
fulfil under the greatest aggravations. Thus was His conduct 
a living commentary upon His precepts, and He taught more 
by His actions than by His words. 

2. Reflect, if they were fortunate who lived at a period when 
they could receive instructions from the blessed Jesus Himself, 
is there no share left to us of this happiness 1 Yes, much, cer 
tainly. For it has pleased Him to record in His Gospel many 
of the discourses and instructions with which He delighted 
those who heard Him. Through these He teaches us with 
authority, for it is His sacred voice that speaks in them. And 
what is to prevent our imagining Him such as He was then ? 
Why should we not represent Him to ourselves noble yet meek, 
earnest yet calm, severe yet most sweet, as He was then ? Why 
should I not, when I read His doctrines preserved in His own 
words, think that I see Him fixing His bright yet soft eye upon 
me, and turning Himself to me, that I in particular may hear 
His words, and profit by His lessons 1 Such shall in future be 
the mirror in which I will endeavour to contemplate His 
teaching, with the eye of faith, believing that He had me in 
view when He uttered so many beautiful things for the instruc 
tion of such as wished to learn of Him. But then, if He who 
is my Master thought it right to practise the hardest lessons 


that He taught, whereas He was under no obligation to do so, 
how much more important it is for me, unworthy disciple, 
to strive to put in practice the lessons He takes such pains to 
teach me. Such, therefore, must be from henceforth my 

3. Affections. Offer yourself to your -dear Redeemer as a 
candidate for the honour of admission into His noble school, and 
say : "I am Thy poor creature, O my gracious Saviour, igno 
rant and blind, and impotent for any good. 1 am desirous of 
learning the science of salvation ; but I will learn it from no 
other lips than Thine. Spurn me not. I am not, indeed, 
worthy to have been of the number of those happy ones who 
were able to sit down at Thy table, and feast on the full 
banquet of Thy heavenly wisdom. But of the crumbs which 
fall from Thine, my Master s table, let me be filled ; they are 
enough for me. I will be in future Thy diligent and faithful 
scholar. I will follow Thee in spirit from place to place. I 
will track Thee from city to city, across Jordan and to the 
bounds of Tyre, listening with unwearied attention to Thy 
words. I will stand before Thee when preaching in the wilder 
ness, as when teaching in the Temple ; when in the leper s 
house as when in the synagogue. But no ; I will not be con 
tent to stand in the crowd mingled with scoffers and unbelievers. 
My place I will take with Mary at Thy sacred feet, looking up 
into Thy sweet countenance for an encouraging smile at my 
docility, sure that in Thee I have chosen the better part. Or 
with Magdalen I will draw nearer and embrace them, and 
wash them with my tears, and there learn the comfortable doc 
trine of forgiveness. But when, my dear Jesus, Thou dis- 
coursest of Itfve, that is, of Thyself, and of the Sacrament 
which contains Thee, forgive my presumption if, unable longer 
to contain myself in my lowly attitude, I throw myself with 
John upon Thy bosom, and warm my heart at Thine. " 


jfirst fHantlj, Jjjuvt!) IrrL 

1. Reflect how commonly we observe in others some charac 
teristic fault or weakness which seems to dominate over their 
conduct, and, in a manner, to form the basis of their disposi 
tions. Of one, men say, " What a pity that he should always 
be so proud, or vain, or ambitious." Of another, " It is dis 
tressing to see him so intemperate, or passionate, or given to 
his pleasures." These faults, if so notorious as to be publicly 
manifest, will be the ruling defect of those individuals. Now 
we must be aware that if we speak in this manner of others, 
they will speak in the same way of us. Can we flatter our 
selves for a moment that those who live with us and daily con 
verse with us have not discovered in us some prevailing fault ? 
Are we conscious that we daily fall into such, so that they needs 
must sometimes see and note it ? But, after all, this can extend 
only to the surface of things. Men cannot penetrate into our 
more secret and hidden but most common defects. But must 
we not be our own accusers, and acknowledge that we allow 
ourselves to be almost hourly surprised into such and such faults 
which each of us knows in himself? It is evident that these 
failings therefore find a congenial soil in our hearts, and have 
taken deep root there. Now a little reflection must satisfy us 
that there are particular reasons for our combating and utterly 
vanquishing these our most common faults. And first, it is 
true we may have been assisted by God s grace so far to sub 
ject them, that they do not increase to grievous sins ; yet it is 
equally certain that they contain in themselves the germs of 
such, and are like an evil spawn which some accident or negli 
gence, or just abandonment by God, may cause to ferment into 
life and activity. They are like a cancer in the heart, which 
has been cut out in such measure as no longer to inflict insup 
portable pain, nor actually to endanger life, but which has still 
left some fibres and roots behind it which are enough to destroy 
all security against its one day increasing and becoming serious. 
It is certain, then, that, as a measure of security, we ought to 
insist and labour, nor ever desist till we have completely up- 


rooted, as far as is consistent with human frailty, the last 
remnant of these evil inclinations. Secondly, it is plain that 
they are greatly in the way of our doing the good we desire. 
They are our constant stumbling-blocks in the performance of 
our duties ; we find them ever in the way, interfering with our 
best directed intentions. They are a source of increasing per 
plexity ; they thrust themselves so unexpectedly and unbidden 
into our mind as to leave us in anxious doubt whether or no 
they have been the motive of actions otherwise good and well- 
intentioned. They are the cause of endless regrets. Even- 
evening we have to regret having in some way yielded to them ; 
eveiy week we have to bewail and confess them as a perpetual 
distemper. How much better it will be for us now to set 
about in earnest and thoroughly to bring them into subjection, 
and put an end to their annoyance. 

2. Reflect how acceptable a sacrifice you will make to God 
in destroying this constant obstacle to His graces. Though pro 
bably trifling in itself, it will be more valuable in His eyes than 
others of greater absolute magnitude. For, in reality, such 
apparently small things are often more difficult ; as the husband- 
Mian finds it more difficult to clear his field of weeds and small 
brambles than to get rid of trees or larger shrubs. Hence we 
often can more easily overcome a grievous temptation than an 
annoying inclination which seems far remote from sin. God, 
on the other hand, loves to see us prove our obedience, our 
affection, and our love of purity of soul by sacrifices which, 
while they exclude all danger of pride by their insignificance, 
yet cost us considerable diligence and pains. Besides, the sacri- 
iice will be more acceptable, inasmuch as it will be a work of 
perseverance, and an aim at perfection and closer union with 
Him, and will enable Him to increase the abundance of His 
graces and favours. How, then, is the task to be undertaken 1 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " First, I will daily examine 
most particularly into my transgressions by these defects. 
Secondly, I will thus, by comparison of different times, endea 
vour to discover the occasions and causes of my failing, and 
will carefully avoid them ; or, if this be impossible, I will be on 
my guard when exposed to them, that I yield not. Thirdly, I 
will every day take some opportunity of mortifying myself in 



regard to them by denying myself some gratification which they 
might seem to desire. Fourthly, I will make it a subject of 
daily prayer to God that He will assist me utterly to overcome 
them. Lastly, I will instantly repress the first emotion of them 
in my breast, and make an act of the contrary virtues." By 
these means, O my God, I hope to vanquish these my enemies 
and Thine. But it is in Thy powerful aid alone that I place 
my confidence : Thy grace alone can assist me to put these 
resolutions into execution ; Thy grace alone can make even their 
observance truly efficacious. Here at Thy feet I make Thee a 
holocaust of these my dangerous inclinations. I sacrifice them 
to Thee. I wish to destroy them in Thy presence, so that they 
may no more rise in opposition to Thy law. Arise then, O 
Lord, and let these Thine enemies be scattered, and let them 
that hate Thee nee before Thy face. Strengthen me in the 
hour of temptation, but still more in the hour when I strive to 
mortify and destroy them ; that I may not fear any obstacle to 
the work, or be withheld by pain or annoyance. Bring these 
my enemies under my feet, and I will praise Thee for ever, and 
serve Thee with a free, a pure, and an undivided heart. 

JFirst fftantfj, jFaurtfj SHcefe. 
PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus is nailed to the Cross. 

Preparation. Imagine that you see your Saviour arrive at 
Calvary, bearing His Cross. 

1. Reflect upon the spectacle you have just represented to 
your imagination. You see first a mob insulting and furiously 
denouncing as the worst of men Him upon whose execution 
they are now about to glut their eyes. Then, as they pass off, 
you see the bristling array of spears, a troop of Roman soldiers 
comes into view, and amidst them arrives your dear Redeemer, 
covered with blood, stiff with His scourging, disfigured with 
spittle and livid swellings, torn and mangled by the ill-treat 
ment He has undergone, tottering under the weight of the 
Cross, which He is aided to carry by the favoured Simon of 
Cyrene. At this spectacle you will surely exclaim, " Truly, 


now that the victim is come unto the mountain, the bloody 
tragedy will end. If the malice of man be not yet satiated, if 
humanity can have so much of the brute as that these men will 
not melt into compassion, the Eternal Father at least will 
surely relent, and provide for Himself another victim, as He 
did for Abraham in the place of Isaac." But no ! the justice 
of the One is as inexorable as the injustice of the other is ob 
durate, and nothing can bar the final accomplishment of the 
stern decree. Follow then diligently this barbarous scene. 
See this innocent Lamb of God rudely stripped of His clothes 
before the assembled rabble, and all His wounds opened and 
rent afresh by the violent manner in which it is done. See 
how in silence He places Himself, as directed, upon the hard 
wood of the Cross, and stretches forth His hands. Look, if 
thou canst bear the spectacle, how one of the unfeeling soldiery 
places the point of a coarse, large nail upon the palm of thy 
Beloved, and, by repeated blows, drives its dull point into the 
wood. What torture, what anguish ! The tender flesh is lace 
rated, the bones crushed, the nerves exquisitely tortured, the 
tendons cut asunder ! The tender frame of our dear Lord 
quivers in agony at the piercing smart, and draws up convul 
sively towards the wounded limb. Three more such cruel out 
rages must be committed against the blessed Person, three 
more such murderous wounds inflicted, before the cruel work 
is done ! And were there found men with hearts savage enough 
to perpetrate this 1 But hark ! hear that shout of savage 
triumph and brutal delight. It is the people, who, instigated 
by the infamous priests and elders, are hailing the appearance 
of our blessed Saviour above the heads of the crowd, and con 
sider their joy complete. The very fiends seem to join in it ; 
for though they know not fully what will be the consequences 
to them of this mystery which is accomplishing, they know 
at least that this is One who has curtailed their power and cast 
them out of men, and they think they have now succeeded in 
destroying Him. Oh ! what a spectacle is this to one that 
believes that He, whom that shout greets, is the Son of God. 

2. Reflect upon this frightful idea, that Jesus is here before 
you, executed as a malefactor ! The Lord of the angels, and 
their joy ; the Creator of the world, the Eternal Son of the 

F 2 


Eternal God ; yes, God Himself, He that shall judge the living 
and the dead, is here upon a gibbet as a culprit ! Is not this 
too dreadful an idea to contemplate ? Yet it is the very truth. 
Has He not now at length reached the lowest pitch of degrada 
tion and wretchedness 1 Has He not drunk the cup of humanity 
to the dregs ? Has He not reached the last verge and limit of 
our miseries 1 In His birth He was poor, yea, poor to abjec 
tion. Through life He was persecuted even to the seeking of 
His death. In the previous stages of His Passion, He had been 
ill-treated with indignity, and wounded to cruelty; but only 
now does He appear as infamous ! " Cursed is every one that 
hangeth upon a tree." On a tree is He now hanging. What 
must the stranger who saw Him thus have thought Him 1 Not 
only a criminal, but one of the most desperate character. He 
is not executed alone. Oh no ! So eminent is He considered 
uy those that condemned Him, in the ways of crime, that two 
iliieves, men guilty of great offences, are crucified, one at each 
yide, as if not merely the more to degrade Him, but to show 
that He was chief among such wretches far more infamous 
than they. A passer might say, " What a notorious and dan 
gerous malefactor this must be, that his execution should be 
insisted on by the rulers of the nation without delay during a 
time of mercy, such as the Paschal solemnity nay, even to 
the profanation of the festival !" And, in fact, even the cruel 
Herod, when he wished to gratify the Jews by the death of 
Peter, " videns quia placeret Judaeis," kept him in prison " ut 
post Pascha produceret eum populo." Not so in our Saviour s 
case. His execution seemed to admit of no delay, but must 
take place instantly, even on the day of the Pasch. Moreover, 
it would be remarked, when ordinary culprits are put to death, 
a certain feeling of sympathy and commiseration is excited in 
the hearts of beholders, and at least a respectful silence is ob 
served during the awful scene. But not so here ; on the con 
trary, a universal feeling of exultation and triumph pervades 
the multitude, and breaks forth from their lips. And yet this 
is the Son of God, executed as a malefactor ! 

3. Affections. Eun in to the foot of your Saviour s cross, 
and, embracing His feet, say, " my dear, my ever dear Jesus, 
this is too cruel and distressing a scene for my poor heart to 


dwell upon. To see Thy sinless, spotless hands pierced ard 
torn by those cruel nails ; to see Thy blessed feet, that never 
moved but on errands of love, fixed to the hard wood by the 
torturing iron ; to see Thee thus raised up to the scorn of a 
hateful mob, is a spectacle too dire for even a savage to con 
template. What, then, must it be for one that loves Thee, even 
as inadequately as I do ? Still it is good for me to kneel under 
the shadow of that atoning tree, and contemplate Thy suffer 
ings. It is good for me to look upon Thy wounds, and reflect 
why they were inflicted. Yes, this torture was suffered for me, 
to teach me how I should curse my sins, which brought TL< < 
to it, my Beloved. I detest the brutality of the Jews, and yet 
forget that I have been as brutal as they, when I committed 
those offences which caused Thy sufferings. What were those 
barbarous soldiers in hard-heartedness, compared with me? Is 
this possible, my God 1 Can it be true ? Oh, then receive the 
only reparation a penitent heart can make : a loving determina 
tion rather to die than to sin again. But this is too little. I 
will the rather love Thee the more, in consideration of what 
I have made Thee suffer. Forgive me, clearest Saviour, and 
I will ever love Thee with my entire heart and soul." 

jFtrst fHontij, JFourtfj KHrrfu S 


THE concluding day of each month being devoted to an 
examination of the entire month, and also into the manner in 
which we habitually discharge one of our duties, we will turn 
our attention to examine how we perform our daily meditation 

The parts of the meditation are three : the preparation, th 
reflections, and the affections. 

1. I ought to place myself in the presence of God, and to 
offer Him my meditation, begging of Him to accept it from 
me, and to assist me by His grace, that it may be profitable to 
me, and to the good of my soul. Am I in the habit of attend 
ing^ exactly to this portion of my meditation, or is not my 


preparation very negligent, little more than a mere matter of 
form 1 Examine well into this point. 

If the meditation regard the passion or any action of Our 
Saviour s life, I ought to place the scene before my imagination 
as vividly as possible, and conceive a lively image of it. Do I 
always exert myself to this effect ? Examine. 

2. After this brief preparation come the two heads of reflec 
tion. These are intended to lead the soul to a clearer contem 
plation of the subject proposed. Do I try to concentrate my 
thoughts upon it, and keep my mind from wandering on other 
matters 1 Do I keep myself from running after new and 
striking views, and try to confine myself to - the solid, simple, 
and practical consideration of my subject 1 Do I meditate upon 
the subject as if for myself, and not for others, seeking my own 
improvement and edification, and not how I could make it 
useful for others in sermons, writings, &c. 1 Do I study to 
enter into myself, and with a searching meditation, probe into 
my defects and miseries, and reflect how I can best remedy 
them ? Examine. 

3. Next follow the affections and resolutions to be drawn 
from the reflections. How do I perform this part of my 
exercise 1 ? Do I make such as spontaneously flow from my 
reflections, instead of looking out for studied and striking 
conclusions 1 Am I sincere in the feelings which I express 1 
Do they really come from my heart ? 

Are my resolutions more than mere words, deep and serious 
determinations of my soul to practise what I resolve 1 Are 
they adapted to my own specific wants, and not made in general 
and vague terms, applicable to all 1 Have they a really 
practical effect upon my conduct, and do I feel better for them, 
more punctual in my duty, more fervent in prayer, more united 
with God 1 Examine. 

4. Generally examine yourself as follows. Does the. medita 
tion of the day often return to my thoughts during the course 
of it 1 Is it a constaut check or encouragement, according to the 
matter it treated of? This is one of the best criterions to 
judge, whether it have been well made ; that is, whether it has 
really made a deep and durable impression. 

Lastly, examine well whether there be a tendency to relax 


in the practice of meditation ? Do I easily allow a trifle, or 
even a considerable inconvenience, to make me omit it alto 
gether 1 ? And does this occur more frequently of late than 
formerly 1 Have I perceived a diminution of relish and fervour 
habitually for some time past 1 Do I easily remain distracted 
or thinking of other things, even unconsciously, during all or 
part of the time allotted to meditation 1 Do I easily persuade 
myself that I am not in the humour for it, and that it is no 
use struggling against the disposition I am in, but that I will 
do better next day, or even at some other hour ] Do I put off 
the meditation to some other time ? And in all these things do 
I perceive that I have been gradually becoming more negligent 
and more easily discouraged and overcome] Examine well 
tJiese points. 

5. Having thus discovered the defects into which you have 
slipped by little and little in the discharge of this most 
important of your spiritual duties, the next point is to resolve 
upon a thorough amendment of them, and a reform, consisting 
of a complete renewal of your spirit. If, with God s grace, 
you find that on the whole you have been diligent and fervent 
in the performance of this exercise, thank Him for it, and beg 
His grace that you may not only persevere, but improve. 

for tfjc jRrst (ase. 

O Holy Spirit, light and life, Thou seest how without Thee, 
there is in me nought of good, but only weakness, misery, and 
sin ! I have fallen away from my first fervour, poor as it was, 
into lukewarmness and sloth. But Thy grace is all powerful, 
and equal to my necessities. Forgive then the past, and impute 
it to my frailty rather than to any malice of my heart. Give 
me Thy grace, in future diligently and fervently to discharge 
this holy exercise of me ditation, that I may profit by it to love 
Thee more earnestly, to serve Thee more faithfully, and to save 
myself more securely. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 


& ^ragcr for tfjc Sccnnto Case. 

O my God, giver of all good things, I thank Thee from my 
heart for having assisted me in the discharge of this duty of 
meditation. I owe it all to Thee, that it hath not been wholly 
without fruit, and that I have not entirely fallen away. After 
all, I am but a useless servant, and have come sadly short of my 
duty. My work is full of imperfection, and therefore I humbly 
implore Thy aid for the future, that I may improve from day 
to clay in this holy exercise, amend my past faults, and reach a 
much higher degree of perfection. Through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

3. #*. 9. <. 

fHantfj, JFirst &2Eccft. S 
END OF MAN. False Judgments of Men concerning it. 

1. Reflect how, if we had to judge of our end, by that for 
which the greater part of men seem to live, we should soon 
arrive at an opinion on the subject. We see them madly bent 
upon the pursuit of those goods which earth and the body 
present, as though there was nothing else to live for. Some 
are intent on grasping honours and distinctions, undervaluing 
all other things, save as means to attain them. Others give up 
their lives to the heaping together of riches, sacrificing their 
present ease, health, and happiness, to the gratification of hoard 
ing wealth, which they will never be able to use. The greater 
part, however, flutter through life in search of pleasure ; seeking 
their own will in all things. They satisfy the desires of the flesh 
in all its cravings, and only think how they may lead a pleasant 
life here below. " Coronemus nos rosis et fruamur bonis," is 
their motto and principle. Are these, can any of these, be the 
end of man ? Can these people be acting in conformity with 


this end ? It is evident that the end of any being must be one 
worthy of Him who appointed it, and of the creature which 
tends to it. We are the creatures of God ; and our end must 
be one worthy of Him and of us. Is it to be for a moment 
imagined that God could have gifted man with such sublime 
intelligence for such base purposes as these pursuits 1 Can we 
for an instant imagine that His wisdom and power would have 
been exerted to produce a creature fitted for the noblest 
purposes, but yet destined to creep with his thoughts upon the 
surface of this low earth, seeking gratification more ignobly than 
even the creatures inferior to himself ? For they all have some 
useful object and place in the order of creation. They perform, 
each in its kind, some service in the world, and their seeking 
of pleasure is ever subservient to this, their end. Now the 
place of man is to rule over this world of nature : he is the 
lord of other earthly creatures ; and in proportion to this eleva 
tion which God has given him should be the superiority of his 
views and aims above those of other material beings. If they 
only use pleasure and the gratification of their appetites as 
secondary to the discharge of their functions in the world, how 
much more should man put those things under his feet, as 
unworthy of the views which God had in making him the lord 
of this His earth. 

2. Reflect how utterly unworthy of the constitution of man 
such objects are, and how incapable of forming his end. This 
appears at once from the simple consideration that they can 
never satisfy him. The end of being, if adequate to the 
possessor and all ends proposed by God are necessarily so 
must be able to fill the capacity of the individual. Now daily 
experience proves that not one of the pursuits above named 
can give a full or lasting satisfaction. Even when enjoyed to 
their extremes, there is a void left, and if long possessed they 
lose their power to please, and even turn into disgust. " Yanitas 
vanitatum," the wise man justly said of them, after having 
tried them 011 a larger scale than any man before or since. 
In fact, what are they ? Ambition, a passion of racking cares, 
dark suspicions, unjust supplantings ; of intrigue, deceit, dis 
appointments ; to put after all a thorny crown upon the head, 
or place the foot for a moment on a giddy pinnacle, 011 which 


the brain probably whirls round, till the ambitious falls, and is 
derided ! Its reward consists in the breath of men, of men 
fallible and deceitful as ourselves. Can the noble soul of man 
be destined for such paltry ends? Avarice, a mean and 
despicable vice when carried to its real and not uncommon 
extreme ; on all occasions a restless, unsleeping solicitude, an 
ever-craving cormorant in the breast, "The daughter of the 
leech that never saith, Enough," the enslaver of every great and 
dignified aspiration. Its reward lies in the dross of earth, in 
the stones turned up with fire from under its surface. Can the 
noble soul of man be destined for such a base, material end 1 
Lastly, love of pleasure that is, of corporal earthly pleasure, 
the most brutalizing, degrading occupation of all ; that which 
brings down the heart of man to the level of irrational 
creatures desires, lowering his high intelligence to the standard 
of the unthinking herd ; chains down the soul, the lord of his 
little world, as a captive to the slaves that were given to it 
for its service, and stifles every nobler sentiment in the pursuit 
of forbidden and unsatisfying lusts. During, and in spite of, 
every attempt to indulge the soul in these various pursuits, 
chosen by so many as the only end of their lives, this " lust of 
the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life," conscience, armed 
with its whip of scorpions, torments her and makes her feel 
that these cannot be, and are not, the end of her being. Such, 
then, are the miserable objects which children of men pursue : 
" they love vanity, and seek after a lie. " What wonder if they 
are disappointed ? 

3. Affections and Resolutions. Determine most earnestly 
never to be led away again by even the desire, much less by 
the pursuit, of such mean, unworthy objects as these. On the 
contrary, trample them underfoot, as beneath the high dignity 
of thy creation, and say, "0 my God, averte oculos meos 
ne videant vanitatem. Keep my heart far from the thought 
of earthly things, but especially of all such as are apt to blind 
me, and seduce me into the pursuits of an end unworthy 
equally of Thee, and of me, Thy poor creature. I know that 
when I come to reflect upon the subject, I shall discover an end 
in my creation worthy of us both, and that I will study to 
attain. In the mean time, oh ! prepare me for this important 


task, by purging my soul and heart from all earthly attach 
ments. Undeceive me more and more every day, respecting 
them ; teach me to undervalue them and despise them, that my 
heart may be reserved entirely for Thee." 

5cronti fHontfj, .first Smcek. fHontrag. 


Death ? 

1. Reflect upon the words of Scripture, "Quis est homo qui 
vivet et non videbit mortem" (Psalm LXXXVIII.), and consider 
how no man, however vain or proud, has come to such an 
excess as to flatter himself that he was possessed of immortality, 
or would be saved from death. Were the most haughty tyrant, 
accustomed to the fulsomest adulation, to be told by his 
courtiers that he alone was so far privileged as to be exempt 
from the ordinary lot of mortals, he would either smile at the 
folly or be enraged at the absurdity of so pitiful a compliment. 
No one ever has been so mad as seriously to have entertained, 
though only for a moment, such an idea. Eveiything that man 
sees forces him to acknowledge his perishable condition. The 
sun that sets, the flower that fades, the rocks which crumble, or 
the leaves that wither, the very monuments of the dead which 
decay before his eyes, remind him of his mortality. Every day 
the passing bell conies harshly to his ear, or the funeral chant 
accompanying his neighbour to his last home. If he read the 
past in history, every page records the death of some one 
famous in his generation, far more deserving of an exception 
from the general law than himself; if he attend to passing 
events, almost every day brings the news of some noted man s 
decease. But if all these things did not convince him of the 
certainty of his own death, at a future period, no matter how 
remote, he feels its proofs within himself. After the thought 
less days of a very brief youth have passed away, the symptoms 
of decline, the seeds of decay, begin to manifest themselves. 
The step very soon ceases to be as elastic as before ; the spirits 
are no longer so buoyant, nor the frame so active. Yery soon 


after the body has become consolidated the hand of destruction 
begins, as though playfully, to destroy its charms ; it weaves, as 
if in sportive malice, a few scattered grey hairs with the jet- 
black locks ; it imprints more deeply, day by day, the lines of 
thoughtful expression, and marks with slight traces the furrows 
of future wrinkles. The mind, too, soon shows a corresponding 
tendency ; the memory becomes early less active and retentive 
than in our first youth, the imagination clouds, and the restless 
inquisitiveness of the dawning intelligence becomes torpid. 
Decay, the forerunner of dissolution, soon comes, in this 
manner, to convince us, in our despite, that " we are dust, and 
that unto dust we shall return." 

2. Reflect how, if it be thus certain that all men shall die, 
this is a truth no less certain regarding us in particular. It is 
certain, then, that one day or another I shall come to this awful 
moment. In all probability I shall one day be seized with some 
mortal illness, which at first will appear slight, and cause no 
alarm. My friends as well as myself will entertain hopes of 
my recovery, till at length appearances will become more serious, 
and all will befall me that I have witnessed or been a party to 
in others. I shall read in anxious countenances the fear of 
danger : at length the minister of God will approach me, and 
say, " Brother, it is my painful duty to inform thee that earth 
hath for thee no further hope ; God alone can raise thee up. In 
the mean time set thy house in order, for in all human certainty 
dying thou shalt die, and shalt not live." Then shall I prepare 
myself for receiving absolution of my sins ; and shall receive (God 
grant, with true and fervent devotion) the adorable bread of life, 
truly my staff in that last journey ; and shall be anointed with 
oil. My strength will fail, my mind will wander, the faces of 
friends and familiar objects around me will be melted in a mist 
of confusion. My tongue will cleave to my parched palate 
and refuse to give a sound ; my chest will heave with short, 
convulsive sobs ; my hands become clammy and be clenched 
and motiouless ; my eyes glassy, my hair damp and disordered. 
Limb after limb will stiffen, muscle after muscle be rigid, 
feature after feature set. The death-rattle will die away, a 
quivering as of a parting breath will pass over my lips, and I, 
that am now thinking of these things, shall be no more. All 


this I know will happen to me, if God let me go forth bv 
the ordinary way of all flesh, and choose not for me some other 
course. Now when I have seen these things come to pass in 
others, how have I shuddered at the idea of my being in the 
sufferer s place ! And yet such will be the case, and others will 
feel in my regard, as I have felt for those who have gone before 
me. But why shrink from the contemplation of what needs 
must be 1 ? nay, rather, why not dwell upon it with solemn 
interest, to see what good we may thence draw 1 Now suppose 
that one, possessed of a considerable property, were assured by 
an authority which was infallible as to future events, that a day 
would most certainly come when he should be despoiled of 
all that he possessed except so much as he could before that 
time save or hoard out of his estate, I am sure that, if he had 
any reasonable sense, he would begin the very next day to put 
by something for the evil time. He would not delay because 
it was remote, but would be^in because it was certain. And 
is it not an affair of most ordinary prudence that I should do 
the same ? that now, while it is day, I should labour to make 
provision for the night, which most certainly cometh] So, 
indeed, I will from henceforth. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. "Yes, I will never forget 
that, uncertain as everything else respecting my future destiny 
may be, my end at least is certain. Sooner or later the end 
shall come." Why then attach myself to things, which one 
day I must leave % Why set my heart upon creatures which, 
if they perish not with me, or before me, will be lost to me at 
my death] No, my God, "ipsi peribnnt, tu autem per- 
manebis : et anni tui non deficient." I will then place mv 
affections upon Thee alone, the unchangeable and imperishable. 
I will settle my heart on a love as imperishable and as unalter 
able as Thyself. If death is a certain prospect to me, why 
should it not be as certain a prospect that it will bring me to 
Thee] It is the only gate through which I can come to 
Thee : why then should I repine at the certainty of passing 
through it ] Rather let me be ever able to rejoice, saying, 
" Lsetatus sum in his qua) dicta sunt mini, in domum Domini 
ibimus." Let me, through Thy special grace, now walk on 
that narrow path which will secure my safe arrival at Thy 


glorious presence. Teach me and strengthen me to labour so 
as to make my calling and election sure, as sure as the great 
event of my final dissolution is. 

SccrmtJ fflontlj, JFirst HEcefc. 

OF GOD. On His Greatness and Glory. 

1. Eeflect how God has not willed His attributes to be con 
cealed from us, nor to be altogether out of the reach of our 
understanding. Although His glory and immensity cannot be 
properly apprehended by our minds, and we receive little or no 
assistance in our contemplation of them from our senses or ex 
perience, He has been willing that others of His attributes, 
though no less infinite in measure and duration than these, 
should be cognizable to us by more sensible means, and even 
through their exercise in ourselves. The first and most con 
spicuous of these is His goodness, of which the Scripture truly 
says, u Et boiiitatis ejus non est numerus;" and the Church, 
" Cujus bonitatis infinitus est thesaurus." But this must be 
meditated on more in detail, in considering the many benefits 
which God has bestowed upon us. Let us then turn our con 
sideration to His power and wisdom, as manifested to us. The 
very name of God in that speech wherein He revealed Himself 
to the Fathers of old, signifies strength and might. And who 
doubts of His power who believes Him to be the maker and 
creator of heaven and earth 1 To give life to the smallest in 
sect, or being to the smallest atom, is far beyond the collective 
power of all created beings. What, then, must it have been to 
bring forth from nothing this stupendous machine, full of energy 
and motion, of beauty and excellence, and to have peopled it 
with myriads of living creatures, from such as escape the notice 
of the unassisted eye, to the sublime intelligences that bear the 
messages of the Most High ? The Scripture, to aid our imagi 
nations, describes to us the power employed in this magnificent 
work as similar to that which a man would use in ordinary 
occupations. God stretches the heavens as the herdsman would 


his tent. " Extendens ccelum sicut pellem : qui tegis aquis 
superiora ejus " (Ps. cm.), or even as one would amuse himself 
balancing this globe on three fingers, or containing the ocean 
in the hollow of His hand (Is. XL. 1 2). But what an idea does 
His sacred word give us of His infinite power, when it describes 
in the fewest possible words the summary method of creation, 
" Quia ipse dixit et facta sunt, ipse mandavit, et creata sunt." 
By a simple command, by a will expressed, all these countless, 
and, to us, immeasurable beings, came into existence. Were a 
man to labour for years, he could not produce a flower in all its 
organization, much less make it grow, open, and produce seed. 
But the word of God called forth from nothing this entire 
nature, with all its complicated laws acting in admirable con 
cert. No experiment was required to see how the separate 
parts of this machinery would work, no progressive improve 
ments were made, but, from the sun that shone forth to regu 
late the march of its attendant planets, to the mote that dances 
in its beams, a perfect code at once regulated every movement, 
and has required no modification since. And though this is 
proof no less of the wisdom of God, yet does it show forth His 
power, which by one fiat created in perfection so mighty a 
work. And in preserving and governing all these things is ex 
hibited no less power than was displayed in creating them ; for 
nothing ever fails from being unsustained ; nothing goes out of 
place from want of renovation ; nothing threatens decay from 
being worn out ; but all is fresh and new as on its first produc 
tion : and this without effort, without labour on the part of 
God; but He, enjoying the happiness of an undisturbed repose, 
by the mere continuation of His will that these things should 
yet be, supplies vitality, energy, and beauty in an unfailing 
stream. What mighty power ! What incomprehensible omni 
potence ! 

2. Reflect upon the wisdom which God displays in all His 
works. This, as has been already intimated, is shown forth in 
the constitution of svich laws from the beginning as have re 
quired no further change or modification. But it will be found 
more strikingly for our understandings in the daily and visible 
occurrences of creation. What wisdom does not every new 
research discover in the proportions and analogies between 


different parts or systems of things ; between the want of 
the rational and the adaptation of the irrational portions of 
existence ; between the physical and moral aspect of man. 
Though the different classes are governed by laws having no 
necessary connection one with another, yet all are so well fitted 
that they concur most admirably to a common end. Thus are 
the temperature of the air, the proportions of moisture, of light, 
and the ingredients of the atmosphere which we breathe, pre 
cisely such as best suit the organization of man and his natural 
constitution. And thus are all the functions of his body co 
ordinate, though in some instances independent ; and each of 
them finds in outward nature whatever is best adapted to the 
satisfaction of its wants and the lawful gratification of its 
desires. How often, nay, how constantly do we find that, 
where nature seems to have been niggard of one benefit, ample 
compensation is made by some other ; that, where Providence, 
to speak more correctly, has left a country or an individual less 
richly provided with one class of goods, it has balanced the 
defect by an ampler supply of another ; so that, throughout 
creation, a certain justness and equality of measure is dis 
cernible, and the superfluities and deficiencies of things adjust 
themselves into nice accordance. "What wisdom is displayed in 
the government of earthly events and in their direction, to the 
accomplishment of deep counsels, not thought of by men. 
Whoever reads the history of the world by the torch of faith, 
will discover in every occurrence, in every revolution, a guiding- 
hand, which, while it leaves full play to the passions, the vir 
tues, and abilities of men, yet over-rules their effects, and makes 
them, without violence, converge to great purposes concealed in 
the future. The gradual disposition of the world for the mani 
festation of* a system of eternal truths forms the leading- 
principle which connects together all the foundation, the pro 
gress, and the overthrow of mighty successive dynasties through 
many ages. The pride of an emperor leads to the fulfilment of 
a prophecy concerning the birth-place of the Son of God ; and 
the restless ambition of the Roman state prepares the ground 
for the scattering of the seed of His doctrine. But if we look 
close to ourselves, and see the wisdom of God s providential 
counsels in regard to us individually, how the events of our 


lives, few as they may Lave been, have yet imprinted upon 
them the seal of a Divine prudence and most vigilant counsel, 
as clear and strong as that which marks the events of empires, 
we shall indeed be brought to admire and partly understand 
the immensity of that wisdom which takes in all extremes, the 
greatest and the smallest, the loftiest and the meanest, and 
weaves them into one magnificent web of providential dispen 

3. Affections. " O God of infinite might, God of incomprehen 
sible wisdom, I adore Thee and humble myself before Thee, as 
a creature unworthy of Thy regard, as lost amidst the splendid 
works of Thy hands. How doubly little and insignificant 
must I appear to Thee when, borne away by a foolish presump 
tion, I venture to act in reliance on my own feeble mind, or on 
my own foolish devices ! How tenfold miserable, when I 
pretend to dispute or reason about Thy infinite perfections, 
as a child attempting to measure the ocean with a shell. Teach 
me then ever to contemplate Thee with humble awe, ever to 
name Thee with devout reverence, and rather to study to please 
Thee by gratitude, adoration, and love, than to venture on re 
searches into Thy ineffable essence. Let me be warmed rather 
than dazzled by the splendour of Thy attributes, and know 
them more in my heart than in my understanding, love them 
more than comprehend them. Let the strength of Thy right 
hand ever support me ; and the counsels of Thy wisdom guide 
me through the perils of this life to the bliss of the next." 

Swonto iHontlj, JFtvst 

(same subject J. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself the stable of Bethlehem 
and Jesus lying in the manger. 

1. Reflect upon the bitter sufferings of your dear Saviour on 
the first night of His life. He was from the first moment of 
His conception endowed with the perfect use of reason, and 
able to apprehend and comprehend all that befel Him. He 



was bom in the very depth of winter, the season in which ex 
posure to the inclemency of the air must be most felt ; when 
the night is longest and dreariest. What a dismal place this 
earth of ours must have seemed to Him on His first glance at 
it ; what a sad presage to life must it have appeared ; what a 
fitting commencement .for a career such as His was destined to 
be ! Perhaps other children were born that same night not far 
off; but they were immediately received into the arms of 
friendly attendants, their little limbs warmly swathed, and 
laid in a cradle to repose ; their first night was one of 
peaceful slumber and total oblivion, which no effort of 
memory would ever after be able to recall to their mind. 
Had a passer-by looked into the respective homes of Jesus 
and one of these other infants, which would he have prog 
nosticated was born to glory or distinction 1 Surely him that 
was rocked to sleep in comfort on that first night. While of 
the other he would have exclaimed, " Poor little creature ! 
surely you are the child of misery and wretchedness, an outcast 
before born, driven from the society of men to the company of 
the commonest animals, banished from every house to the 
shelter of a stable, refused at the very inns, so as to be laid in 
a manger ! Surely some evil destiny awaits Thee ; surely a life 
of misery must succeed a birth so miserable." And, in part, he 
who thus should have reasoned would have judged aright ; but 
in much greater part he would have been far amiss. For this 
neglected infant will be the only salvation of the other, which 
seems so much more happy, and He is the most glorious being 
that ever came into the world. Yet, in spite of all this, a life 
and death truly worthy of such a birth await Him. He is at 
once "the reproach of man and the outcast of the people," and 
their glory and honour. " He is as a worm and no man/ and 
still He is the splendour of the Eternal Father, the Lord, the 
Mighty. He is the poorest of the poor, and yet has the empire 
on His shoulders is the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace ! This 
is then the child of whom the prophet spoke, " Puer natus 
est nobis, et films datus est nobis." " Ecce virgo concipiet et 
pariet filium et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel !" This child, 
so abject, so abandoned by men ! How different are God s 
thoughts and ways from ours ! 


2. Yet reflect how much more becoming God and His Son 
was this manner of birth from any other that could have been 
imagined. What addition could the most sumptuous attend 
ance and most gorgeous circumstances of Oriental pomp have 
been to His own proper splendour and glory 1 Suppose Him 
laid in a bed of state, as rich as gold and jewels and imperial 
purple could have made it. "What would He have gained 1 He 
would have been more like an earthly monarch s son, destined 
to grow up a haughty, imperious tyrant. Men would have ap 
proached Him, though an infant, with a certain awe ; they 
would have been more engaged in contemplating the dazzling 
objects that surround Him, than in gazing upon His own 
charms, and meditating upon His own glories. But, as we now 
see Him, it is Himself that we love and reverence. In the 
other case, the tenderer feelings would have had but little room 
to play ; what compassion, what interest could we have taken 
in Him 1 What could we have called our own 1 He would 
have seemed to be able to give rather than to receive; we should 
have retired abashed from His presence, feeling that we could 
afford no service to one so magnificently attended. But, as it 
is, He is indeed raised above all those circumstances which shed 
some lustre round the birth of the great, and we find Him upon 
His bed of straw, more glorious and majestic than an infant 
sovereign upon a gilded cradle. He is surrounded by His own 
glory, a glory which we feel is superior to the want of all out 
ward aids. But then, in addition, He seems to us all our own. 
We may go in, together with the shepherds, and feel no timid 
reserve. We find none but Maiy and Joseph there, both of 
whom we so well know and love. We salute them familiarly ; 
the one, grave yet mild, seems to welcome us ; the other, all 
gentleness, and smiling with the fondness of a young mother s 
heart, kindly encourages us to approach. She takes her veil from 
over the little straw bed, and shows us the face of her dear 
little babe, all smiling, and bright as heaven. She allows us to 
look upon Him with all affection, and admire His beautiful 
features, beautiful indeed beyond the children of men. And if 
we feel and exhibit extraordinary fervour of love, she allows us 
to take into our arms the lovely infant, to fondle Him and 
caress Him. We feel domesticated in such good and simple com- 


I G -i 


pany, as much as we should have been repelled by the pomps of 
state. Great wisdom, then, and goodness were shown in this 
manner of birth being chosen by the Son of God. 

3. Affections. Bless your Divine Saviour for having suffered 
so much at His birth that He might endear Himself to you ; 
and say, " Ever blessed Jesus, truly a Saviour to my soul, 1 
draw near to Thee with sincere and ardent affection. Thou 
didst not disdain a bed of straw and a manger, and, therefore, 
I fear not to invite Thee into my poor dwelling, and ask Thee 
to repose in my unworthy bosom. How could I ever have 
offered Thee so wretched a place of rest if Thou hadst not first 
given me proof of how low Thou canst stoop for the love of 
me 1 I know Thee too well in Thy sacred infancy, and espe 
cially at Thy humble birth, to fear a haughty repulse whenever 
I draw nigh unto Thee in a spirit of confidence and love. I own 
that the heart in which I ask Thee to dwell is far less worthy of 
holding Thee than the stable at Bethlehem, having been often 
defiled by sin. But it shall be washed clean by tears of sincere 
repentance. It shall be adorned with proofs of sincere affec 
tion, and at any rate it shall not be, as that was, a borrowed 
shelter ; for it shall be Thine entirely and without reserve for 
ever. Come then into it, and brighten by the light of Thy 
presence, what else is but dark and cheerless." 

fHontfj, JRrst m,ttk. 

L Eeflect how the reasonableness of this virtue of faith 
results from its very definition. For it consists in a hearty 
assent to all that God has revealed or communicated to us. 
Now, the very naming of such a feeling or act suffices to make us 
see the necessity of it. For who would presume, even for a 
moment, to question the slightest particle of what God has so 
far condescended as to make known to us 1 Who, for an 
instant, could think of the propriety, under any circumstances, 
of deliberating whether the smallest tittle were or were not 
entitled to his assent ? Look at the two terms in the case. 
God, the infallible, not only the true, but the truth, wisdom 


eternal and uncreated, is on the one side ; and man, a wretched 
mass of ignorance and stupidity, is on the other. The one is 
all light, the other all darkness. And shall the latter say to the 
former, how canst Thou enlighten me ? It is enough, then, for 
God to speak, that man should hold his peace, and, placing his 
finger on his lip, listen in awe and with docility. But at the 
same time, what a wonderful condescension on the part of God 
to become our instructor and our teacher, and what gratitude 
do we not therefore owe Him ? He has, however, carried His 
condescension much further. He might have contented Him 
self with speaking to us ; and, having given us sufficient 
evidence of the fact, have insisted upon our assent. But He 
has chosen rather to surround His revelations with such a mass 
of evidence, as though He had studied to adapt them to our 
judgments, and wished to make them acceptable to our reason. 
Whether within ourselves, or in created things, He has placed 
innumerable analogies with what He has -taught us, insomuch 
that we become highly and unjustifiably unreasonable if we 
reject it. And having done so much on His part towards 
conciliating our assent, it would be surely in the last degree 
unjust, ungrateful, nay, mad, to expect the truths revealed to 
be within the grasp of our small minds and intelligences. 
Indeed, what idea should we have formed of God, or of the 
infinity of His ^ wisdom, if all that He communicated to us 
turned out to be nothing more than what our own miserable 
understandings could have reached .to unaided, or might even 
have discovered untaught? No. In having a God for our 
teacher, we had a right to expect lessons far above the com 
prehension of man. 

2. Reflect how faith, if really possessed, should act upon the 
soul. Manifestly it ought to lead to strong practical results. 
It should influence our conduct. Can I believe that my 
religious duties, for instance, are truly the result of a divine 
teaching, and refuse or neglect to discharge them? Faith, 
even in the most abstract and incomprehensible mysteries, 
should lead to important acts. Can we believe in the Trinity 
as revealed to us, and not veil our heads in reverential awe, 
whenever the thought of God comes into our minds ? Can we 
rightly believe in the Incarnation, and not live in habitual 


gratitude, and daily thanksgiving to God 1 Can we have^true 
faith in the Real Presence of Christ s Body and Blood in the 
adorable Eucharist, and not run, as often as possible, to His 
altar, to receive Him, or to bless, praise, and worship Him ? 
It is thus that true and living faith is proved by works ; all 
beside is worthless. Moreover, if we truly appreciated the 
great blessing of God s revelations, they would be a constant 
subject of our study and contemplation. We should ever be 
pondering on the mighty truths they contain, studying how to 
defend them when impiously attacked, and how to illustrate 
them when misunderstood, and how to enforce them when 
neglected. But what is still more important, our faith should 
not be a cold assent of the understanding, but a fervent and 
deep-seated consent and love of its truth. We should be pene 
trated with a feeling of the benefit we possess in it, of the love 
of God in giving it us. We should lay up every particle of it 
as a treasure of supreme value, as a pearl, small in appearance, 
but of immense price ; we should feel grieved and shocked 
when even the most secondary parts (as they seem) of God s 
revelations are attacked or lightly treated. This was the faith 
of the martyrs,who truly understood the greatness of this virtue, 
and were ready to die rather than sacrifice to the prejudices of 
man the least portion of the sacred deposit. This was -the 
faith of the Jeromes and Augustines, who beat down with 
energetic writings every attempt of heretics to wound the 
integrity of faith, in matters even of lesser interest. If once 
our faith be such as this, how differently from the generality of 
men shall we feel in regard to the maintenance and propagation 
of truth. She will become to us dear as a spouse or a sister, of 
whose honour we should ever feel most jealous, of whom we 
should never allow any one to speak in our presence save with 
respect. We should declare ourselves her champion, and 
proclaim her glories before all the world. We should fer 
vently desire, and enthusiastically strive to make her beauty 
and perfectness known to all men, and valued by them as by 
ourselves. Our faith would be a fuel to charity, and an 
incentive to zeal. It would be not only a light but a torch, 
which would spread its rays without as within us, and set on 
fire the hearts of many. 


3. Affections. " Thanks, my God, deep and eternal thanks 
be to Thy goodness which hath thus provided instructions for 
our ignorance, light for our darkness, exercise for jour humility, 
and a way to salvation. I believe, dear Lord, but do Thou 
help mine unbelief. Make it fervent, zealous, and warm. 
Let my faith be a faith of the heart as well as of the mind. 
Let it break forth in my words, be proved by my actions, and 
inspire my thoughts. Let it ripen by constant study and 
meditation into a feeling deeply seated in my breast, and bearing 
fruits of holiness. Let me never forget that Thy beloved Son 
travailed long and painfully to establish this faith, and bring it 
home to the convictions of men ; that Thy apostles sealed it 
with their blood, and that thousands of glorious martyrs fought 
valiantly to the last, that it might be handed down to us entire. 
Such then let me preserve it in myself, and such let me ever 
strive to propagate it among others. It is sufficient for me to 
know that Thou hast deemed anything worth teaching us, to be 
satisfied that it is worthy of being learnt and remembered. 
Let my zeal for Thy faith be the safeguard of my charity, by 
urging me to the noblest exercise of this golden virtue, the 
teaching of others unto eternal life." 

fftontli, JTtrst KScefc. JFrttag. 

into the Garden. 

Preparation. Imagine Jesus prostrate in prayer in the 

1. Reflect how our Divine Redeemer Himself described the 
inward sorrow and anguish which He felt when He said, 
" Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem." Men sometimes 
are struck down by a sudden blow of wretchedness, as by the 
unexpected death of some one most dear or most necessary to 
them. But here there was nothing of this sort. A short time 
before Jesus had been entertaining Himself with His apostles, 
calmly and perhaps cheerfully. Nothing since that had occurred 
which, humanly speaking, might account for such a change. 


It is an anguish, then, which has sprung up as of itself in His 
heart ; it is an inward sorrow, which has its root and cause 
entirely within. Now, however we may be able to conceive 
an unlooked-for affliction, as the loss of all we possess, or of 
some one we tenderly love, plunging us into a frantic grief, we 
can hardly apprehend or properly understand an inward grief 
producing such mortal anguish as to be comparable, nay, far 
superior to those others, in magnitude and intensity. What a 
weight of inward sorrow must that of Jesus have been which 
could warrant such a phrase. " Tristis usque ad mortem." 
Moreover, remember who it is that speaks thus. Jesus was the 
Lord, not only of His own life, but of all life. When therefore 
he said that His soul was sorrowful unto death, it would seem 
as though He intimated that His grief was sufficient to cause 
death even in Him. At any rate, his words imply that it was 
such as would have proved fatal to any other person, not 
supported as He was by the presence of the Divinity. But 
this dreadful anguish appears most remarkable when compared 
with the calm majesty of His conduct during the remainder of 
His passion, His dignified silence and perfect self-possession. 
This must have been therefore a truly overwhelming sorrow, 
a suffering more severe than any which followed it. It was a 
sorrow of His soul, and one which was more able to bring Him 
to His end, had He not interposed His power, than the violence 
of His executioners. 

2. Reflect how this state of sorrow is described by the sacred 
writer, when he says, " et factus in agonia prolixius orabat. " 
He calls it an agony. Jesus intended, at the moment of His 
death, to reveal all His greatness, and give, in yielding to the 
lot of weak humanity, a strong proof of His divinity. It 
would have been an unworthy spectacle to have seen Him 
writhing and convulsed upon the cross. He breathed His last 
there with power and majesty, so that the very heathen 
centurion, upon seeing the manner of His death, was heard to 
exclaim : " Truly this was the Son of God. " But then, as He 
was to be " a man acquainted with sorrow, " He would not 
leave one untasted which we are exposed to, lest in anything 
we might want His example, and say, " This is something more 
than Jesus suffered ; here I am without His guidance. " As we 


must one day undergo, in all probability, this last death-struggle, 
He anticipated it, as we may say, and underwent it, that 
we might see in what manner we should endure it, when our 
turn comes. But what an agony must His have been ! In 
others it takes place when nature is already exhausted ; when 
the body can make but little resistance to the hand of death ; 
when the spirits are dull, the sensations blunted, and the mind 
enfeebled almost to the verge of unconsciousness. Yet even 
so it is a fearful conflict, and painful to behold. What then 
must it have been in Jesus 1 A real strength of death in life, 
an attempt at usurpation by a strong and armed hand, on the 
side of the destroyer, against the wakeful and resisting powers 
of vitality. In the vigour of youth, in the strength of health, 
in the energy of a vigorous mind, to feel an inward sorrow 
capable of causing death, and to have to grapple with it, endur 
ing it so as not to let it effect its fatal purpose, wrestling with it 
as Jacob with the angel, through the dark hours of night, alone, 
uncomforted, unaided ! What a conflict ! What a victory ! But, 
good God, what a sorrow that must have been which could have 
produced such tremendous effects ; which could deserve to be so 
styled ; which could, in truth, be considered the agony of Jesus ! 
And what a violent and most execrable cause there must have 
been to raise in Him such grief ! And such truly it was : for it 
was sin. It was here, in truth, that He took upon himself the 
burden which He was to bear, of our iniquities. This was the 
heavy wood, the fuel for His sacrifice which was laid here upon 
the shoulders of our Isaac, much heavier to Him, and much more 
calculated to crush Him to the ground, than the material cross 
which afterwards He could not carry. Yes, now truly hath His 
dear but most righteous Father laid upon Him the iniquities of 
us all. What a frightful load ! What a debt of more than ten 
thousand talents ! Here He put on the person of the sinner, 
yea of all the sinners whom he came to redeem. He felt 
Himself invested with their detestable offences, as Jacob was 
with the hairy skins, to personate his evil brother, Esau ; but 
then it was not for the purpose of stealing a blessing, but of 
assuming a curse to another due. Can I wonder now at His 
soul being flooded with a deluge of new, inexpressible grief, a 
SOITOW unto death, an overpowering agony 1 With His hatred, 


abhorrence for sin, to see Himself covered and buried under the 
accumulated iniquities which man had committed, or should 
commit, during the world s entire duration. 

3. Affections. " Yes, my dear Jesus, and among them all, 
mine I am sure must have been most prominent. For none 
has ever offended Thee with greater ingratitude and fouler 
baseness than I have. Cruel, cruel, indeed, have I been towards 
Thee ! When I think that by sacrificing the gratification of 
my worthless desires, I should have caused a sensible diminu 
tion in that mountain of iniquity which pressed upon Thee, 
and consequently in the anguish which it caused in Thy blessed 
soul, to think that it might have been in my power to make 
Thee suffer less than Thou actually didst suffer, and I would not ! 
Oh, what a bitter, what a cruel thought ! Whenever, then, I 
am tempted to sin, and offend Thee, let me say to myself, 
1 There would be another of the stings which went through 
the heart of Jesus in the garden j there would be another of 
the many bitter drops which I have poured into His chalice of 
sorrows ; there would be one more of the causes of His agony, of 
His death-struggle in the Garden. And if, through Thy grace, 
I resist, let me be consoled by the thought that I have pre 
vented at least one additional pang in that sorrowful night. 
And if I think of sin in this manner, if I consider it ever in 
reference to the effects it produced upon Thy most sacred Heart 
on that Thy last night, surely I shall be in no danger of yielding 
to the hateful tempter who urges me to send another arrow 
through it, and aggravate Thy already too bitter sorrows." 

fHontfj, jRrst SHcck. Satitrtag. 

What is Sin ? 

1. Reflect how the greatness of an offence is generally best 
estimated by considering the person against whom it is directed. 
For, if it be one who has comparatively little claim upon 
our obedience, duty, or love, it is manifestly a much less trans 
gression than if committed against a person entitled to any or 


all of these at our hands. Again, this estimate is better made, 
if we take into our calculation the other extreme, and see in 
what relation the transgressor stands to the offended. If he be 
an individual equal, or nearly equal, to him in rank or dignity, 
his offence will not be so gross as when he is of much lower 
degree, and even perhaps the other s menial. Now, then, apply 
these criterions, to ascertain the grievousness of sin, and see 
what we shall discover. What is God in our regard, and what 
is the relation we stand in towards Him ? He is our Creator, 
our sovereign Lord and- Master \ and consequently there is no 
imaginable degree of duty, reverence, gratitude, or affection, 
to which He has not a claim from us. Were every moment of 
our lives spent in serving and honouring Him, we might justly 
say to Him at the end, "Servi inutiles sumus ;" not only 
inasmuch as our service could be of no profit to Him, but also 
inasmuch as all our efforts, however enduring, would have done 
nothing towards discharging our immense debt, and we should 
be just as much obliged to serve Him then, as at the commence 
ment of our exertions. If, then, instead of serving Him, 
instead even of neglecting to serve Him, we actually displease 
and outrage Him, what an enormous offence must it be ! 
Moreover, God is in His own nature sublimely exalted beyond 
all imaginable terms of comparison ; and we, on the other hand, 
are sunk as low as sin and hell can place us. We are plunged 
in every species of wretchedness, subject to every infirmity, are 
mortal, are liable to sin, are a degraded race, that has lost the 
highest prerogatives. God would stand at a height infinitely 
removed from us, even were we yet in the pure and happy state 
wherein He created us : He is infinitely exalted above the most 
blessed of His angels : what, then, must He be in relation to us 
wretched creatures 1 Sin therefore partakes in its enormity of 
this character of immensity ; it is measured by the space it has 
to run, by the distance between the transgressor and the 
offended, and that distance is infinity. Such is the lowest 
measure of the enormity of sin, enormity in the strictest sense 
of the word. Take the contrast in detail. The feeblest of 
things insults the strong and mighty \ an abyss of ignorance, 
gross and palpably dark, affronts the abyss of eternal uncreated 
wisdom ; the clay, a lump of foal and heavy earth, rises up 


against the intelligence of the potter who has fashioned it ; the 
creature assaults its maker ; the slave his lord. A being whose 
proper portion should be in eternal woe and suffering, mocks 
the Lord of heaven, his all-seeing Judge ! Truly this offence 
has a magnitude beyond all that is either possible or conceivable 
here upon earth. And all this is every deadly sin. 

2. Reflect how often we may fairly judge of the enormity of 
a transgression by the punishment awarded to it. There are 
many crimes on which the ruder sort form their opinions by 
this consideration. They cannot see the moral guilt of certain 
crimes against society. But when they learn that such offences 
are punishable with death, according to the laws of their 
country, still more w r hen they see men executed for them, they 
are led to conceive that there must be in them a deeper guilt 
than they at first supposed. And so it is with sin. "When we 
abstractedly consider the violation of certain duties, we can 
hardly bring ourselves to understand its magnitude ; but surely 
we must be convinced of it, when we see that God punishes 
them with death. For therefore is grievous sin called a deadly 
sin, because it brings upon the soul the punishment of death. 
It kills the soul, by a just decree of God, w r ho is her life, who 
withdraws Himself from her, leaving her a loathsome thing in 
the sight of His angels, fouler to them than the contents of an 
opened sepulchre. It despoils her of her inheritance in God s 
promises, of the privileges and prerogatives of His children ; it 
is an attainder which disqualifies her for ever (unless reversed 
through repentance) for possessing the good things prepared for 
His elect. And this first death is but the forerunner of the 
second and far more evil death, in the pool of fire and brim 
stone, prepared for the devil and his angels. There she is 
destined to find the only company she is fit for, felons like 
herself, given up to everlasting torments. What a monster sin 
must be to cause the condemnation of a soul created after God s 
own image and likeness to such a horrible lot as this ! And to 
aggravate the idea, consider that it is no cruel tyrant that 
delights in severity, who pronounces this sentence of condemna 
tion, but the kindest, best, most gracious and most merciful of 
beings. There is no danger of His being over severe; justice 
in Him is ever perfect, and, if anything, swayed by mercy. 


Yet He, seeing sin just as it is, finds Himself compelled to 
pronounce this capital sentence upon it, without hope of miti 
gation. What a frightful excess, then, must sin truly be ! 
How enormous its guilt ! 

3. Resolutions. Firmly resolve in the presence of God never 
again to commit this enormous evil, saying, " What a base 
and yet what a proud, presumptuous wretch I must have been 
to have outraged Thee, my God, my Lord, my sovereign, in so 
many ways, such repeated times ! Truly my eyes must have 
been sealed in utter blindness, my heart must have been 
hardened beyond all power of feeling, to have gone on so long 
drinking iniquity like water, making light of what was so 
grievous before Thee, finding pleasure in what gave Thee so 
much pain, taking my pastime with what to Thee was a hideous 
monster, and risking my soul, my immortal soul, for eternity, 
for a momentary gratification ! But henceforth, my God, I 
will understand as I ought, what it is to offend Thee, how 
great and fearful an evil, how terrible a risk, how huge an 
outrage, how enormous a provocation. I will hate, as it 
deserves, what is so hateful to Thee ; I will loathe, I will abhor 
it, even as I do now." 

Scconti fHontfj, SecontJ ZMttk. 


Admiration of the Saints. 

1. Reflect how great should be our admiration of God s 
saints, when we contemplate them here on earth. They were 
the greatest of His works, the creatures on whom He lavished 
the largest abundance of His graces; men gifted with the 
spirit of His knowledge and His truth. On them He conferred 
the high prerogatives of prophecy and miracles. They 
possessed the gift of prayer and of a constant union with Him ; 
they were often rapt to the third heaven, refreshed with 
glorious visions of God and the joys prepared for His elect, 
overpowered with the rich sweetness of His consolations, and 
brought most close to Him in ecstacies of delight. He gave 


them, lastly, the greatest of all earthly blessings, final perse 
verance in His service, and made them faithful unto death. 
Moreover, they were the friends of God, dear to Him as He 
was to them. He loved them tenderly, watched over them 
with a most peculiar solicitude, cherished them in His bosom, 
and admitted them into His secrets. " Shall I conceal from 
Abraham," saith - the Lord, "the thing which I do?" 
(Gen. xvin.) "The Lord God shall do nothing, but He 
revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." 
(Am. in.) He made them often the depositaries and channels 
of His mercies to other men. He seemed to put Himself, in a 
manner, under their control. Moses was able to quench His 
kindled wrath, and check His justice when it would have 
destroyed His people. Abraham would have obtained mercy 
for Sodom itself, could he only have found ten j ust men in it. 
The Saints, on their side, felt towards God as true and faithful 
friends. They were zealous for His honour, ardent lovers of 
His glory, delighted to see His name exalted, and His will 
accomplished. And shall not such men as these deserve and 
obtain our admiration 1 Further, consider what they in their 
turn did for God. They cheerfully spent their lives in His 
service ; they had no will but His ; they laboured incessantly for 
Him ; they were ready to lay down their lives for Him, and 
many actually did so. But if we look, in detail, at the peculiar 
gifts and excellency of the saints, what matter for admiration 
do we not find ? In each we see some different quality, some 
special virtue ; in other words, some peculiar manifestation of 
God s attributes. Who will not admire in the apostles their 
zeal and devotion to the cause of God; in the martyrs 
their charity" unto death ; in the holy doctors their love of truth, 
their fervour, and diligence ; in the virgins their purity and 
holiness ? Who can fail to admire the mild wisdom of a St. 
Francis de Sales, the pastoral zeal of a St. Charles, the deep 
spirituality of a St. Teresa, the rapturous love of a St. Francis, 
the love of suffering of a St. John of the Cross, the love of 
poverty in a St. Thomas of Yillanova, intrepid courage in a 
St. Thomas of Canterbury 1 Truly " mirabilis Deus in sanctis 
suis ;" manifold are the marvels of divine grace in these and 
all others His saints ! 


2. Reflect how much more worthy of our admiration are 
these saints now that, their course finished, their warfare 
valiantly completed, they have entered into the joy of their 
Lord, and reign with Him crowned in heaven. Who can 
sufficiently admire their surpassing beauty, their matchless 
power, their sublime exaltation 1 We cannot raise our eyes 
to heaven and see it bespangled with countless stars, and not 
admire its beautiful magnificence. Yet what are these com 
pared with the splendour of those saints, who adorn the true 
heavens, the court of the Lamb 1 Their charms are unfading, 
they can suffer no diminution of their glory. They have been 
placed by God over the kingdoms of this earth, and rule over 
them as their inheritance under Him. They can sin no more ; 
they are freed from all the trials of the body. They can die 
no more ; they are beyond the reach not only of mortality, but 
of all its causes. For, they can suffer no more : the tear is 
wiped from their eyes. They can no more endure hunger or 
pain, or heat or cold ; they are at rest, eternal rest with the 
God whom they have faithfully served. If we are ever seeking 
out objects for our admiration, where shall we find them 
worthier than in these wonderful servants and sons of God ? 
Where shall we find fuller scope for our feelings than here, 
where our admiration stands in no danger of being disappointed 
by our discovering the hollo wness of its object, or finding 
itself deceived in the extravagance of its feelings ? Whatever 
appeared to us wonderful in God s saints, while yet they lived 
on earth, has been brought to its full perfection, and has 
acquired a sublimer character. Surely, all that earth possesses 
of whatever is most beautiful and perfect, if put together, would 
not be near so worthy of our admiration as the smallest of 
God s servants in glory. 

3. Affections. But, my soul, let not this our admiration be 
a barren feeling. Let it lead us to a desire of ourselves be 
coming one day like these, an object of admiration, of such admi 
ration as befits God s saints. Let us first desire and attempt to 
reach their admirable virtue and holiness here below. " Far 
from me, my God, be the presumptuous desire of becoming, as 
Thy saints have been, a vessel of those extraordinary gifts 
which in them I so much admire. Such a worthless sinner as 


I am may not even entertain such a thought. But their deep 
study and knowledge of themselves, their severe judgment on 
their own transgressions, their spirit of self-denial, their sense 
of their own unworthiness, their profound humility, their 
patience and meekness, their charity and fervour, these gifts 
which I greatly admire in them I covet and eagerly presume to 
desire. Give me them, most merciful Lord, through their 
intercession. O all ye Saints of God, who having fought your 
good fight are now in repose, pray for me your unworthy 
votary and admirer, that while engaged in the same warfare as 
yourselves have undergone, I may be, as you were, beloved, 
protected, and assisted by God. Look upon me as one of your 
selves, as an aspirant after your glory, as one ambitious of 
nothing less than a participation in your happiness. Stretch 
out your hands to me and support me on my way, that I may 
reach these objects of my sincere admiration." 

Scconto iHantlj, 3ccantr W&ttk. 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Signs which will precede 
the Last Day. 

1. Reflect how our Saviour, wishing to give us some idea of 
the terrors of universal judgment, dwells particularly upon 
those signs which shall precede it, as being more likely to affect 
our minds than its own inherent circumstances of fear, not so 
likely to strike our senses. And first He describes those more 
distant harbingers of it which shall announce its coming. The 
whole earth shall appear to be agitated by an unwonted rest 
lessness, both in its physical and moral constitution. The 
ground shall rock with more frequent earthquakes ; the work 
of men s hands shall totter and fall ; cities shall be overthrown 
and bury their inhabitants ; the lofty pinnacles and swelling- 
domes shall topple down, and crush the inferior fabrics with 
their tumbling mass ; and every place shall be strewed with 
ruin and marked with desolation. The sea shall burst its 
boundaries, and visit with its howling surges the habitations of 
men. Sweeping away in its savage triumph the fatness of the 


land, and its richest ornaments, the crop and the husbandman, 
the flock together with its shepherd. And when the children 
of men shall lift up their eyes, for pity or to blaspheme, towards 
the heavens above them, they shall quickly cast them down 
again, upon encountering the merciless, avenging aspect of the 
sky that leaden firmament, that seems to press downwards on 
them ; that blood-red moon glaring in the heavens as the 
banner of the angry Lord of Hosts, that sun coarse and dim as 
sackcloth, those stars that seem to be shaken from their 
courses, wander pathless over the disordered sphere. " Erunt .... 
terrse motus per loca" (Matt. xxiv. 7), " et erunt signa in sole 
et luna et stellis, et in terris pressura gentium prse confusione 
sonitus maris et fluctuum " (Luke xxi. 25). Then look at the 
inhabitants of this failing earth. A withering famine, universal, 
irremediable, unmitigated even by hope, has thinned their 
numbers, and worn the healthiest frame down to the bone 
leaving them pale, emaciated, and feeble. The flaming brand 
of pestilence has waved over the entire earth, sacking great 
cities of their inhabitants, depopulating the country, emptying 
the cottages; "et erunt pestilentise et fames." Now see how 
these wretched remnants of the human race are employed. 
Some, as in the days of Noe, or in periods of pestilence in 
modern times, are wasting in reckless riot the few leavings of 
past abundance, blaspheming God in their cups, and mocking 
at His judgments. A still greater number are engaged in 
adding to the calamities of the time the horrors of war and 
bloodshed, cutting one another in pieces for the conquest of a 
famished pest-worn country ; multitudes going forth even to do 
battle against the Lamb under the banner of the impious 
antichrist, putting on his badge, and fighting his battles with 
savage delight. A still greater throng is gathered where 
the beast that has seduced the nations from the worship of 
God, is receiving sacrilegious adoration from them all. " Et 
adoraverunt earn omnes qui inhabitant terram, quorum lion 
sunt scripta nomina in libro vitse Agni " (Apoc. xiii. 8). What 
a frightful spectacle, to see men so engaged, at such a time, 
with every evident symptom of a terrible wrath hanging over 
their heads ! Yet, is it surprising 1 Israel made and wor 
shipped a golden calf at the foot of Sinai, while the cloud in 



which God resided yet hung upon its summit, before almost 
the echoes of its thunders had completely died away. Such is 
the perversity of man s heart, the most frightful judgments cannot 
soften it or bring it to reason, when once steeped in forgetful- 
ness of its God ! But oh ! how terrible indeed must that 
judgment be, which has such forerunners ! 

2. Reflect how our Saviour Himself assiires us that all these 
are but the beginning, the introduction, as it were, of evils. 
" Hsec autem omnia initia sunt dolorum." These were as but 
the sickness of nature and her elements; the convulsions of 
her agony, her expiring sobs, have yet to come. For now the 
sun will become dark, no longer shedding warmth and cheer 
fulness over the earth ; and the moon shall refuse her light ; 
and the stars shall seem to be cast from the firmament / like 
the figs shed by their tree in a mighty storm (Apoc. vi. 12, 13). 
Now, at length the nations of the earth shall know that the 
end is approaching, and that their doom is sealed. They have, 
indeed, prevailed against the Saints of God; they have 
put to death His two prophets, extinguished His two lamps, cut 
down His two olives (xi. 4, 7). They have butchered the 
faithful who have refused to join in their abominations (xiii. 15). 
The entire earth seems to have been given over to them for a 
time, to do on it what they pleased. But now the wrath of 
an angry God has been finally enkindled, so as never again 
to be quenched. His plagues striking one upon another 
without respite or intermission, every former evil aggravated 
to its highest pitch, new and unheard-of calamities not merely 
decimating, but destroying utterly the human race, warn the- 
few survivors, in the midst of their excesses, that the end now 
approaches. But will they repent ? Far from it their hearts, 
like Pharaoh s, shall only be hardened by their plagues. 
Imagine rather that terrible scene which the w^ord of God 
describes : men few in number, yet still further separated by 
mutual hatred, their bodies not only emaciated by famine, but 
hideously eaten into by the ulcers poured upon them from the 
first phial (xvi. 2), wandering and groping their way about the 
pestilential darkness that surrounds them, and yet while they 
bite their tongues with pain, anguish, and despair, cursing 
God with set teeth, refusing to humble their soul to penance.. 


" Et quintus Angelas effudit pliialem suam super sedeia 
bestise ; et factum est regnum ejus tenebrosum ; et commanduca- 
veruiit linguas suas pro dolore, et blasphemaverunt Deum 
coeli pro doloribus et vulneribus suis, et non egerunt pceni- 
tentiam de operibus suis" (10, 11). But this fiendish spectacle 
shall not last long. The avenging fire of final destruction 
must soon sweep over the entire surface of this sinful earth, 
reducing to ashes the proudest monuments of man s skill or 
might, consuming the last traces of creation s beauty, burning 
away the bases of mountains, and drying up the hissing waters 
of the ocean. Look, then, upon this earth, once more reduced 
to its original condition dark, desolate, silent, and dreary, a 
black, smoking ball whirling on its orbit, a blot in the heavens, 
a monument to other spheres of the ingratitude of its favoured 
inhabitants, and of God s just indignation. It is now a fit 
theatre for His final judgment. 

3. Affections. " Terrible God, awful Judge of the living 
and the dead, how shall I presume to deprecate Thy wrath so 
justly kindled against our rebellious race 1 Ponder upon it, I 
may in terror weigh, 1 ought that portion of righteous judg 
ment which I have helped to bring down ; my item, however 
small in proportion, still sensible in the general account of 
provocation which thy thunderbolt will then pay to the full. 
I may well bow down my head in silent terror, nor dare, 
myself a culprit, to intercede. Even Abraham could not save 
Sodom. But for myself, and whatever part I may have in 
these terrors, I will deprecate Thy wrath. Long before their 
time comes, I trust I shall have reposed in the bosom of Thy 
compassionate mercy, where repentant sinners may find a 
place. But in the judgment, to which they are a prelude and 
a commencement, I must bear my part ; and the grievousness 
of this I cannot better estimate than from their magnitude. 
Sever Thou my heart from a world destined so miserably to 
perish, and turn all its thoughts towards eternal joys which 
nought can impair ; that my works may be found registered, 
not on tablets or columns which that all-consuming fire will re 
duce to ashes, but upon the indelible pages of Thy book of life. 
" Libera me,Domine, in die ilia tremenda, quando coeli movendi 
sunt et terra. Dum veneris judicare, noli me condeninare." 

H 2 


Second JHontij, Second OScek. ^ucsfcag. 

Charity ?] 

1. Reflect how the strongest motive for loving our neigh 
bours is contained in the precept, " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself." What motive can we require or desire 
beyond this ? God wills it, God commands it ; it is our duty 
simply, and without further inquiry, to obey. Still it has 
pleased Him so to speak, as to make His precepts reasonable .to 
us, by giving us the grounds on which they are based. These 
we are now to reflect on, that we may be led to the obser 
vance of the command. The first class of these may be found 
in the precept itself, or in connection with it. Thus, the com 
mand is joined by our Blessed Saviour to that of loving God, 
with this remarkable introductory phrase : " This is the first 
commandment. The second is like to this : thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." God could not overlook the 
immense distance between the objects of these two precepts, 
and how the one would appear, even to a well-disposed and 
reflecting mind, to throw the other into the shade, and con 
found it with the comparative insignificance of this object. 
He, therefore, took this method of giving it importance, by 
raising it in a manner to the level of the other, placing it in 
the same class of virtues, exalting it over faith and hope, and 
placing its exercise under the safeguard of the very highest of 
His most favourite excellencies. He has connected the two in 
even a stronger manner. For he has made the one the touch 
stone of the other. " If any one say that he loves God, and 
hate, that is, loves not, his brother, he is a liar. For if he love 
not his neighbour whom he seeth, how shall he love God whom 
he seeth not ? " This reasoning, then, gives us a stronger motive 
to cultivate the love of our neighbours, that through our 
proficiency in it we may judge of our love of God. A heart 
that can love at all, must first love objects more immediately 
presented to it. If ours refuses to love those who are 
with us, among whom we live, how will it raise itself to 
the love of the unseen, sublime perfections of God 1 


2. Reflect how many pressing motives to love our neighbours 
may be found beside the actual precept. By nature we are mem 
bers of one family, descended from one father, living in the same 
dwelling, feeling the same wants, and dependent for our hap 
piness upon one another. 

Even among irrational animals there is a disposition to 
be on kindly terms with those of the same species : the most 
ferocious will seldom attack or molest another of its kind, 
but will even often aid and support it. How much more man, 
who knows the benefits resulting from mutual kindness and 
friendship / But this is no more than a feeling which the 
very heathens possessed and urged : it falls far short of the 
charity of the gospel. This fraternity of our nature has been 
elevated into a much higher sentiment, a fraternity of grace. 
We are all the children of God, at least by right, so many of 
us as have been purchased by his Son. And that purchase 
includes the entire human race without exception. When 
Jesus Christ condescended to be called and to consider himself 
as our brother, and that without distinction between one man 
and another, it certainly was not too much to ask us to do the 
same ; in fact, we cannot pretend to be His brethren without 
coming into a similar relation towards all that have it with 
Him. All men, then, are our brethren, and shall we refuse to 
love them ? All men are loved by Jesus as His brethren, on the 
same title as I hope for His love ; shall I fail to love them as 
he does ? Now, in His love there is no exception, no grudge, no 
secret enmity to any one, and so must mine be, embracing all 
men as my brethren in Jesus. In loving all men, redeemed by 
Christ, w r e love the restored image of God. He has stamped 
this upon every individual of the human race, and when it was 
defaced by sin, He repaired it at great cost, and made it once 
more what it was in the beginning. It is thus that our charity 
towards others is referable to God ; and that in loving them 
we are loving Him. Besides the precept of loving our neigh 
bour, we have the strongest inducements in the recommendation 
and example of Christ. He showed an earnest desire that His 
disciples should be distinguished from the rest of men by their 
observance of this part of His law. He made it a peculiar dis 
tinction of His covenant, that it should be a covenant of love, 


not^only towards God, but towards each other also : " A new 
commandment I give you, that you love one another. By this 
shall all men know you to be My disciples, by your love for 
one another. You have heard it was said to them of old, 
Thou shalt love thy friend and hate thine enemy ; but I say 
unto you," &c. On the eve of His passion, when with His 
chosen twelve, the principal topic of His pathetic discourse was 
mutual charity. How could it be otherwise, when that very 
night He was to begin His sufferings for the redemption 
of man 1 It is, then, an object dearest to His heart, and enforced 
by His example in life and death ; and who will be so un 
generous as to refuse to gratify and to imitate Him ? We may 
surely find also a strong motive for mutual love in the thought 
that we are all engaged in the same troubles, labours, and 
dangers. The soldiers who fight under the same banner soon 
come to have a bond of friendship together ; they are ever 
willing to aid and to defend one another. We are all frail vessels 
together ; we are all poor weak sinners, asking God s bounty. 
What a hateful sight to behold a crowd of distressed mendi 
cants quarrelling and reproaching each other before the gate, 
where they expect charity. A feeling of sympathy for those 
who are in equal distress with ourselves ought to form a strong 
bond of charitable interest in others. 

3. Affections. " Thou, my God, art charity. In taking on 
Thee our flesh, Thou gavest me at once the strongest motive 
and the completest model of this virtue. Thou becamest one of 
us that we might acquire new rights towards Thyself, and with 
one another. One of these, and one of the most glorious, is 
that of being called sons of God, and Thy brethren. Teach us, 
then, the pleasantness of living as brethren in unity. Make us 
young olives round Thy table, growing together in holiness, 
children of one house, members of one body, all one in Thee 
as Thou and Thy Father are One. Renew the spirit of 
Christian charity in all men, and begin with me. Make me 
ever consider Thee in the person of my neighbours, and make 
me ever love them in Thee and for Thy sake." 


Second fH0n% SccontJ 

CHRIST AS OUR MODEL. [Same Subject J\ 

1. Having in our first meditation on this subject considered 
Jesus as our model in the ordinary actions of His life, which 
He performed in common with us all, let us now reflect upon 
those sublime and singular actions, in which it would seem at 
first that we should find nothing imitable by ourselves. And 
yet, even in these, we have a beautiful model for our imitation. 
These actions may be divided into two classes ; first, His posi 
tive miracles, works above the power of man ; and, secondly, 
such actions as were perfected to a truly miraculous degree. 
Now, as to the first, our blessed Redeemer healed the sick and 
lame, gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. He 
cleansed the lepers, and raised the dead to life. These works, 
of course, are beyond the presumption of imitation. But what 
lessons have we in the manner in which they were performed ? 
First, they had always as an object the good of man. Jesus 
never threw a miracle away. He went about doing good ; that 
is, though it cost Him no effort to perform the most wonderful 
wort, though He might by a word, or even a thought, have 
done even far greater things than He actually did, yet He hus 
banded His power with a prudent care, so that it should ever 
be most wisely bestowed. The great object which he always 
proposed was to discharge, by the exercise of His power, the 
primary duty of charity and benevolence. Now, here, what a rule 
we have for the proper employment of such little gifts, talents, 
or qualities as it has pleased the Almighty to bestow on us. 
One may possess the gift of memory, another quickness of 
parts, a third power in speech, and so of others. Each cf us, 
therefore, ought, after the example given us by Jesus, to dedi 
cate his gifts to good and holy purposes, and especially to that 
holiest of all, the edification and spiritual benefit of his neigh 
bours. Yet how do we, at variance with our divine Pattern, 
recklessly squander and scatter in every direction, in vain 
display, any little power which God has given us for our own 
.and others good. Again, our blessed Redeemer was always 


most careful to perform His most wonderful works according 
to the strict rule of the law. He would not consider Himself 
exempt from its provisions, when these were just, in conse 
quence of possessing a power that placed Him above it. He 
sent the lepers to the priests to be inspected by them and de 
clared by them clean, although certainly His power had super 
seded all such necessity. He might have cast out devils as He 
pleased, but He inculcated the necessity of fasting and prayer 
for the purpose. And so, when He raised Lazarus from the 
dead, He preferred exhibiting His power in the form of a grant 
to His prayer, that so we might learn to love and practise this 
holy duty. Thus we are taught ever to act under the law, and 
regulate ourselves by it, however superior to other men s our 
station or abilities may be. Again, with what modesty and 
humility did He perform His extraordinary actions. He 
charged those whom He cured to tell no man; He com 
manded His Apostles to conceal His Transfiguration till He 
should be risen from the dead. He attributed His miracles en 
tirely to His Father, so to turn away the glory which came to 
Him from them. These are surely important practical lessons 
to be learnt from actions quite beyond our imitation. 

2. Reflect now upon those actions which, though not pri 
marily of the nature of miracles, partake of the miraculous. 
Such is the wonderful fast of forty days ; such the fervour of 
His prayers, the depth of His humility, patience, and other 
virtues. They are all actions which it is our duty to imitate, 
and therefore we must not content ourselves, as with regard to 
the other class, with the consideration of their motives or cir 
cumstances. It was most worthy of God to give us in the 
duties just named a model far beyond our power of reaching. 
It would indeed have been a poor religion in which the scholar 
could be equal to his master. We may now strive without in 
termission all our lives, and at every point of anticipated per 
fection we reach, find our aim that of complete conformity to 
the pattern of our Saviouras far above us as when first we 
started in the ascent. A generous mind is thus encouraged to 
struggle forward, and come as near as possible to his Lord and 
Master. If we look in particular at each of these duties, we 
shall find how admirably their perfect discharge by our Lord 


gives us a rule for our conduct. We cannot fast forty succes 
sive days without food, but we can learn from our Saviour s 
fast that ours should be persevering ; that it should be joined 
with retirement from the world ; that it is the best preparation 
for, but no security against, temptation. We cannot pray 
entire nights without distraction, but we can learn here the 
value and importance of prayer ; we can learn how enduring 
and fervent we should try to make it, and how for that purpose 
we should retire into silence and solitude. And so may we say of 
our Lord s inimitable patience and humility. He could have 
hardly practised humility had He not put on the habit of a 
sinner. We who wear it, not by choice, may surely try to copy 
a small portion of this great virtue. 

3. Affections. Thank your dear Saviour for condescending 
to direct even His greatest gifts and most exalted perfections to 
our good and say, " My dear Saviour, how completely Thou 
hadst me even in Thy heart and before Thy eyes. Even when 
Thou appearedst raised above the condition of Thy humanity, 
and beyond the reach of our humblest imitation, the thought 
of us poor creatures never for a moment left Thee. Even then 
Thou wouldst teach me and encourage me. Let not Thy lessons 
be cast away upon me, but let me study Thee, that by Thee I 
may walk to perfection. Whether Thou sittest at the pub 
lican s table, or staiidest at the tomb of Lazarus, Thou art 
equally my Teacher. Whether Thou dost caress the children 
that are brought Thee, or art transfigured before Thy chosen 
Apostles into the brightness of heaven, Thou givest me solemn 
and touching lessons. My life in return should be an unceasing 
copy of Thee. Such make it ; and, teaching me to aim at all 
perfections, bring me at the same time to the greatest depth of 
an humble knowledge of my own unworthiness." 


SecontJ iHontfj, Sccontf Swfc. S 

given in the OldJ\ 

1. Reflect how the New Law has, like the Old, its Sinai a 
holy mount whereon the precepts of God were repeated to His 
people. Instead of clouds and lightnings, and the voice of a 
trumpet, Jesus, the meek and the amiable, sits upon its summit, 
and, with the sweetest tones of His heavenly voice, gives out 
the oracles of heaven. Instead of a terrified multitude, cower 
ing down as slaves before their angry Lord, a small but chosen 
band of followers listens with astonishment and docility to His 
Divine instructions. Thus placed, He renews the provisions of 
the Law. But, by so doing, how completely He changes their 
character, not merely in their nature, but in their sanction 
as well. From this moment they cease to belong to the law 
of fear ; they form a part of the covenant of love. The moment 
they have passed His lips, they have received a force much 
greater on our hearts than the terrors of the former sanction 
could ever give. To us who love, or desire at least to love, 
Jesus, it shall more bind us to the observance of those com 
mandments to learn that He confirmed and inculcated them, 
than to have heard that terrible threats were put forth through 
angels trumpets against their transgressors. They are no 
longer a burthen which neither we nor our fathers could bear, 
but a part of His sweet yoke, ever light and pleasant to our 
souls. As the Jews said on the former proclamation of the 
Law, " Let Moses speak to us, and not Thou," so may we seem 
to have said of Jesus. And God heard this common supplica 
tion of all, and sent Him to us, to be our Mediator ; that, 
hearing the Law repeated by His meek lips, we might the more 
love and practise it for His dear sake. And, having thus 
given the law, He thought it not necessary to inscribe it upon 
tables of stone, and to preserve it in a tabernacle made with 
hands ; for He knew that we should not be, like them of old, a 
perverse and froward generation, but a people drawing nigh 
unto Him a nation of loving and willing subjects. He was 
content, therefore, that in our hearts we should write them, 


and there cherish them, and so have them ever before our eyes. 
Such were the changes which the Old Law underwent to make 
it a law of affection and love. 

2. Reflect what alterations were made to suit the ancient 
commandments to the more spiritual character of the New 
Law. First, it was extended to a much more refined point of 
perfection, inasmuch as the precepts of the first Decalogue were 
now made to reach actions only remotely connected with the 
objects of prohibition. Thus, if of old we were forbidden to 
kill, here we are strictly forbidden to utter a word that could 
justly be deemed offensive to a neighbour s feelings. And this 
strictly conformable to the character of the New Law as a law 
of perfection, a law which tends to direct even the smallest of 
our actions by a standard of holiness, and makes the most 
insignificant portions of our life proper acts of virtue, and de 
serving of reward. But the extension goes farther still. It 
carries the influence and binding power of the law into the in 
terior, and gives it control over the innermost recesses of the 
soul. It was no longer to be a mere rule of action, but a rule 
of thought. With the Jews it bore the appearance of a 
statute ; its influence was upon overt acts, by which alone its 
penalties could be incurred. But from thenceforth its autho 
rity was rendered independent of all human inspection ; its 
sanctions were of the invisible world, its guarantee the con 
science of the individual, and its Judge and Avenger the All- 
seeing God. Not only outward deeds, but the lurking 
concupiscences of the spirit were made objects of its prohi 
bitions. Of old, the adulterer was punishable with death ; in 
the New Law, he who lusts after a woman in his heart has been 
guilty of the crime, and in the eye of God has incurred its 
penalty. Not only He that strikes his brother, but he that 
is angry with him, has come under the punishments enjoined 
for those who do murder. Still the extension of the ancient 
precepts under the re-enactment go considerably farther. The 
precepts must be so understood that in prohibiting a vicious 
action they shall be taken to enjoin the practice of the con 
trary virtue. To observe the Decalogue of the Gospel, as 
Jesus explains it, we must not merely avoid all anger in act or 
thought against a neighbour, but we must actively strive to do 


him good, when he is angry and unjust with us ; we must do 
good to them that hate us, and pray for them that persecute 
and calumniate us. Such are the extensions of the Old Law, 
which Jesus personally sanctioned, which He enforced with 
such wonderful earnestness and kind solicitude. "Who will re 
fuse to accept them with docility, and to practise them with 
diligence 1 

3. Affections. Seat yourself at the feet of Jesus, while thus 
teaching His disciples, and claim a place among them, saying, 
" My deai- and most gracious Lord, how much Thou hadst at 
heart my welfare and improvement when Thou didst condescend 
to be my instructor. Who will refuse to learn and to do what 
Thou dost so lovingly inculcate ? Not I, at least, my loving 
Master. Dull and slow of apprehension though I be in this 
Thy heavenly school, sluggish even as I have till now shown 
myself, I am at least desirous of ever sitting at Thy most blessed 
feet, treasuring up Thy Divine words. I will ponder them, and 
often seek to apply them to my spiritual benefit. But oh ! 
make me, I pray Thee, a doer of Thy word as well as a hearer ; 
give me strength and grace to follow up in practice whatever 
Thou teaches t. Thus shall I show myself a true disciple of 
Thee in my life. And let this work of Thy grace seal the 
most secret recesses of my heart." 

Swonfo fHontfj, 5cconti 2Hwft. JFrfoag. 

THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. (Jesus brought before Annas 
and C aiphas.) The Testimony against Jesus. 

1. Reflect how these sons of Belial, the priests and elders, 
determined as they were to destroy our Saviour at any 
rate, had yet the craftiness to aim at saving their character by 
pretending to do it with some show of reason. They accor 
dingly set about procuring witnesses to appear and depose 
against Him. They have had plenty of time to make their 
preparations. Long have they plotted His ruin ; long have 
they resolved to arrest Him and put Him on His trial. It 
is some days, too, since the immediate execution of this pro- 


ject has been resolved on. Our blessed Redeemer had not 
lived in secret, but had been for three years constantly before 
the public ; and it was on His conduct during that period 
that they intended to base their accusation. Often had the 
Pharisees, Herodians, and Doctors themselves, put perplexing 
questions to Him, in hopes of detecting Him in some dan 
gerous opinions. They, it seems, had collected nothing to 
bring forward. Thousands had listened to His teaching or had 
witnessed His cures and other miracles ; and of these many, as 
appeared by the proceedings of the next morning, must have 
been in the interests of the authorities. Yet of these but a 
small proportion came forward, with what success we shall 
immediately see. The poor women who had followed Him from 
Galilee were in the neighbourhood, and could easily have been 
brought forward. If He were indeed the guilty culprit they 
desired to prove Him, these women must know it, having 
been His followers. Why not examine them 1 The Apostles 
were, some of them, in the very house. Peter had given 
sufficient proof of his pusillanimity that very evening; he 
surely would show even more weakness when interrogated by 
the chief priests than he had betrayed on the question of a 
simple maid. Yet these men never thought of employing such 
means of discovering the truth. Truth was not their object : they 
aimed at the destruction of our Saviour. Well, then, they 
bring forth their own prepared testimonies. No doubt, their 
part had been well rehearsed, they had been taught what to 
say. When, however, they stepped forward, " their testimony 
did not agree." The labour of preparation had been thrown 
away. Falsehood ever betrays itself by its contradictions ; 
and on this occasion they were so palpable, that the very 
suborners for very shame, abandoned their witnesses, and 
refused to admit them as evidence. Honest judges would there 
upon have rejected the accusation, and have acquitted the 
accused. And what could more clearly establish the gross in 
justice of this tribunal than the contrary course it followed 1 
How can we sufficiently abhor and detest the cruel injustice 
here exercised towards the Son of God 1 

2. Reflect how at length two false witnesses were found to 
say that they had heard Jesus declare, how He could in three 


days build up a temple, not made with hands, in place of the 
splendid and costly edifice then existing, should this be 
destroyed. Had any one else said thus much, it might have 
been treated as an idle boast, beneath the notice of a grave 
tribunal of such high dignity. For there was no threat or 
disrespect towards the temple expressed, but only a readiness 
and power to rebuild it, if others should destroy it. But when 
spoken by Jesus, who had given such irrefragable proofs of 
mighty power, they were words to be received with awe and 
fear. They never could be made matter of accusation against 
Him. Not to say that the words, if they had been disposed to 
understand them rightly, were not to be taken in their literal 
import, but in a figurative signification. Here, then, was .the 
sum of the charges which a long and minute investigation had 
produced ! Here was the body of evidence, to condemn the 
Son of Man to death, which the many sittings of the Supreme 
Council had been able to collect ! Good God ! What a life 
must He have led upon earth, to escape the snares laid for him, 
so as to furnish no more matter than this to support an accusation 
in the hands of the most ingrained and inveterate adversaries. 
"Who else but He, of all the children of Adam, could have 
passed so unscathed through such a scrutiny 1 In truth, His 
very persecutors, as appears from their subsequent conduct, saw 
how futile and how absurd the charge was, and abandoned 
this, their only specious accusation, in their later proceedings 
against Him. So aware was He of their folly, that He was in 
vain urged by the High Priest to make any reply. " Dost thou 
answer nothing to these things which are alleged against thee 3 " 
Jesus was content to say that He had taught nothing in 
private, and appealed to the testimony of those who had heard 
Him. And so confounded and enraged were they at their 
disgraceful failure in establishing anything like an imputation 
against him, that one of the by-standers struck Him on the 
face, saying, " Sic respondes pontifici "? " 

3. Aifections. Admire, as thou contemplate this vile rabble, 
the wonderful conduct of this your Saviour, who by his silence 
more completely baffles these wily plotters, and confounds their 
falsehoods, than could have been done by the most elaborate 
and eloquent defence. Then say to Him, " O sinless Lamb of 


God ! pure and holy beyond the Angels, how meekly Thou 
standest amidst the raging wolves that thirst for Thy blood ! 
In vain have they sought to find cause against Thee. How 
could they have possibly discovered the smallest blot in Thy 
perfect, divine life? Oh, I love to see Thee thus, without 
abandoning one particle of Thy dearest virtues, meek and dumb 
as the lamb before its shearer, yet confounding the counsels of 
the rulers who have conspired against the Lord, and against 
Thee, his Christ. Thou dost triumph and put them to shame, 
without an effort, without a word, by the sole efficacy of Thy 
irreproachable life, which defies their censures. But while they 
blasphemously accuse Thee, let me bless and exalt Thee. Let 
me with Thy angels praise Thee, for the humiliation to which 
Thou didst stoop in this stage of Thy blessed passion. 

" Blessed, my dear Saviour, be Thy holy name, and ever in, 
our grateful hearts be the recollection of Thy ignominy 
suffered for us. And teach me to profit by the blessed 
example Thou hast here given me. If ever accused falsely and 
undeservedly, let me think of Thee before the council. Let 
me remember how Thou, the innocent and guiltless, sufferedst in 
silence and meekness, and thence conclude how I, the guilty 
sinner, the wretch, who have so often offended Thee, ought to 

fHontfj, Scccutt SHccft. ^ 

THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her Purify. [Her Dignity as Mother 

of God.} 

1. Reflect upon the extraordinary gift of purity which 
Almighty God bestowed upon her whom He had chosen to be 
the mother of His Son. He could not do less than preserve 
her from every, even the smallest, taint of sin. He exempted 
her accordingly from the general doom pronounced upon all 
Adam s children, of partaking in his original guilt. She was 
conceived and born without contracting that debt which every 
other, except her divine Son, must contract on being born of 


woman. As she grew up in childhood, her heavenly Father 
Avatched over her with a protecting care, to preserve her from 
every danger that could in the slightest degree impair the 
perfect purity of her soul. Not even a thought was allowed to 
enter her mind which could disturb it, not an idea to cross her 
imagination that could defile it. Her senses were kept in most 
perfect subjection to the spirit, so that she grew up without 
any knowledge of sin, or any experience of its remorse. 
Reflect, now, what a source of malicious rage to the evil spirits 
the sight of such a soul must have been. They were kept most 
probably, according to the opinion of the oldest Fathers, in 
complete ignorance of her high destination. Yet they per 
ceived her to be beyond the reach of all their arts, fenced 
and surrounded with an array of graces that did not 
allow their shafts to come near her. In what awe did they 
stand of this privileged being; what fear possessed them 
that she was the woman who was to revenge the seduction of 
Eve, and crush the wily serpent s head ! But, 011 the other- 
hand, with what reverence and admiration must the angels of 
God have looked upon one, who, though in mortal flesh, not 
only equalled but surpassed themselves in the favour of God, 
and in every good gift. They saw the especial complacency 
with which the Almighty regarded this favourite creature, 
prepared to be the mother of His coequal Son. Yet, in the 
mean time, how little did earth know or value the treasure it 
possessed. She was unnoticed, perhaps by many despised ; 
while she was the first pure flower which the earth after its 
curse had produced, a lily among its thorns, fit to be presented 
as a fragrant offering to the most Holy. She was the only 
pure creature that could stand in contrast with the fallen race 
as a beautiful exception ; a boast, a glory for human nature, 
the only thing to be completely proud of since its expulsion 
from Paradise ; the only human being that truly represented, 
and called back to the eyes of God, man such as he came from 
His creating hand, undefiled, and perfect in his innocence. She 
was truly the joy of earth, eclipsed only by the greater 
splendour of her divine child. But God did not content him 
self with preserving her pure from all that can defile, as he 
might have chosen to preserve any of His saints. He bestowed 


upon her also a peculiar privilege, the preservation of purity 
even at the expense of the ordinary laws of nature : she was 
most miraculously preserved a virgin, when yet she became a 
mother. Now this is the highest degree to which that gift 
could be carried ; that her virginity being perfect, the blessing 
of fecundity should nevertheless be granted her. And such she 
remained to the end, an object of reverence and astonishment 
to the pure angels around God s throne. 

2. Reflect how this singular purity was not merely a gift of 
God, but a virtue in Mary. It was her choice, her preference, 
her portion. The early tradition of the Church teaches us that 
she bound herself in youth by a vow of chastity. Her answer 
to the angel, " Quomodo net istud, quoniam virum non 
cognosce 1 " implies that the Conception and Birth announced to 
her could not possibly take place in her, unless by some 
miraculous intervention ; which could not have been true, had 
not such obligation bound her. But, at the same time, what a 
determined love of purity does her answer imply. Another 
might have said, " It is true I have bound myself to a state 
of maidenhood ; but an angel of God tells me I must conceive 
and bring forth One who is to save His people. This supreme 
command prevails against any vow, and must be obeyed." She, 
on the contrary, resolved, on the one hand, to retain this her 
beloved grace ; and confident, on the other, that God, who 
declared her full of grace, had approved her choice, and would 
not have her forego it in exchange even for the divine maternity, 
she did not hesitate to remain at any cost a virgin. She was 
well prepared for the Archangel s reply, that by a most 
stupendous miracle the offered dignitv should be hers without 
detriment to her virginity. Surely, if ever there was an heroic 
act of this fair virtue, it was here. For it was perhaps the 
only time that any one could seem to herself invited to abandon 
it, not for an ignoble motive, but the highest and most sublime. 
It was not by a splendid alliance, a royal crown, an imperial 
diadem ; it was by the prospect of bringing forth the world s 
Redeemer, the Son of God ! Yet even this she puts aside, 
while it seems inconsistent with her cherished grace. 

3. Affections. "Pure and spotless virgin," " honour of our 
race, glory of earth," "beauty of Carmel," sole unblighted 



bough, with the fruit thou bearest, upon the family tree of 
Adam, how can we, tainted, denied, corrupted, appreciate or 
understand the sublime purity of thy body and thy heart, of 
thy soul and affections 1 Thy Conception, and the Birth of 
thy Sou, amazed angels themselves ; how then shall we com 
prehend it 1 But, dear and ever blessed mother, canst thou 
recognise us as thy children who are so unlike thee 1 Canst 
thou bear to look down upon us, who have fallen so short of 
thy holy example in our love of this divine virtue 1 Yes : as 
long as we at least love it, and honour it, and, according as our 
exceeding frailty permits, practise it. Such I desire to be : 
and as such I claim thy patronage. Under thy safeguard I 
place this virtue in myself. To thy heavenly guardianship I 
commend my body and soul, my senses and thoughts, that 
through thee I may be preserved from all sin, that I may be 
brought to an earnest love of this divine virtue, so as to 
prize it above every earthly good, and to come one day to 
receive, near thy pure throne, its eternal recompense. 

fflontfj, CfjirtJ &2Ecrft, 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Power of God displayed in 
the Messed /Sacrament. 

1. Reflect how no power but that of Omnipotence could 
have instituted such a sacrament as this. "Who but an 
almighty Being could have conceived the idea of communicating 
God to man, in such sort that, in a form suitable to his 
corporeal state, man should truly partake of his God 1 Who 
but One uniting an infinite might with infinite wisdom, could 
have thought of feeding this low, miserable nature of ours with 
a food so heavenly and so abounding in all that is needed by 
our souls in this pilgrimage 1 Then, in carrying into effect 
this great design, what an unlimited power was needed, yet 
how simply exercised ! For under the forms of the most 
ordinary elements of food, bread and wine, are contained and 
given to us the real Body and Blood of our dear Lord and 
Saviour Jesus. When we read of those miraculous changes 


which occur in the life of Christ, we are in the first instance 
struck by the display of power which they contain. "When we 
contemplate the change of water into wine at Cana, we see in 
it a proof of our Saviour s omnipotence. When we see Him 
multiplying a few loaves and fishes so as to feed thousands, 
we are struck by the wonderful might, the omnipotence which 
was His. But in the Blessed Eucharist, although the act of 
power is incomparably greater than in the other instances, yet 
it is such a treasure of love, of grace, and of so many other 
excellent qualities, that the transcendent power which is there 
seems the least prominent attribute. In the other instances, 
either the substance remained the same, as in the case of the 
bread, or else one earthly substance, one "weak and poor 
element" (Gal. iv. 9), was converted into another, as water 
into wine.* 

But in the most Holy Sacrament, a mean ordinary substance 
is converted into the noblest, most precious object of God s 
creative power, the sacred humanity of His Son. If it required 
omnipotence to change water into wine, what then when wine 
is changed into the adorable Blood of Jesus ? If it required 
almighty power to multiply the loaves, what then when One 
Body, under the form of bread, is made to satisfy the cravings 
of all the faithful all over the world? Consider, too, the 
accessory wonders and miracles, so to speak, of this adorable 
Sacrament. In order to effect its great purpose, it was neces 
sary to suspend in its behalf the ordinary condition of bodies. 
These can be only in one place at a time ; they require a certain 
space to subsist in ; they imply a constant connexion between 
their substance and their outward appearances. But in the 
Blessed Eucharist, all these ordinary qualities, these laws (as 
we call them) of matter, are necessarily suspended. Were the 
sacred Body of Christ confined to one place, only one of the 
faithful could receive it at a time. If it subsisted in its natural 
form, such as it was on earth, we could not be made partakers 
of it. Thus the Divine power, guided by love, and by the 
design of bestowing upon us, poor unworthy creatures, the 

* It may not be unworthy of remark, how the two miracles which 
came nearest in form to that of the Blessed Eucharist were performed 
upon the very two substances under whose form it is administered. 


sublimest pledge of affection, thought nothing too marvellous 
that could be necessary to accomplish the gift. 

2. Reflect how superior is this to every other miracle, from 
the circumstance of its being a miracle constant and persevering 
in the Church of Christ. The other great actions of power 
took place once, for the comfort of a few individuals. This 
is a standing ordinance for the solace of many, yea of all the 
faithful who qualify themselves to approach it. It is, there 
fore, a thousand-fold more marvellous than they. Not only is 
it a miracle daily repeated, and often in the day, but its perform 
ance is without limitation of times. So that we may say the Church 
of God has in her hands the omnipotence of her heavenly Spouse, 
as though He had placed it at her disposal, to be exercised as often 
as she would, for the sanctification of her children. "What a 
combination of love and power ! What a demonstration of the 
goodness and the omnipotence of God ! Further, it is not only 
repeated as often as required ; but it remains an unfailing and 
an unceasing wonder in the Church. The adorable Body and 
Blood of our dear Saviour are not only daily brought down to 
satisfy the loving hearts of the faithful, but they remain among 
us and with us, reposing in our Tabernacles. They form our 
protection and refuge in tribulation, our comfort in time of 
devotion, and our last nourishment when undertaking the 
perilous journey from this life to. eternity. Nor does the mani 
festation of God s power end even here. He has delegated it 
to others. Our Redeemer, when on earth, not only performed 
miracles Himself, but proved the full possession, in His own 
right, of the gift of miracles, by conferring it on His apostles. 
And so, or rather much more, in this adorable Sacrament, He has 
communicated the immense power implied by it to His priests, 
and (more stupendous again) to them all, so that the designs of 
His goodness cannot be thwarted by the personal bad conduct 
of any among His instruments. 

3. Affections. "Would it have been possible, Almighty and 
most loving God, for Thy power to be more wonderfully or 
more affectionately exercised on our behalf? How couldst 
Thou have added to the complicated wonders of Thy adorable 
institution, whereby Thou dwellest among us, and makest us 
partakers of Thyself? The resources of Thy omnipotence, I 


well knew, were not here exhausted; but our weak minds 
cannot even reach a first conception of what Thou hast done, 
much less attempt to fancy what Thou couldst have 
added. This is truly a dread sacrament, a miracle of power, 
so that Thoii thyself hast performed none other like it, save in 
taking our humanity, and coming amongst us as man. How 
should we humble ourselves to the dust, before this most 
sublime memorial of Thy majestic power ! How should we 
fall down in awe before Thine altars, with Thine angels nnd 
all the heavenly host, adoring this exhibition of Thy mighty 
power ! But as is Thy wont, Thou hast tempered it so with 
love, Thou hast put so much of Thine own honey and sweet 
ness into this display of power, that rather it should encourage 
us, it shall encourage me, to hope for everything needed for 
our salvation. What should I not hope from One who, to 
give us the means of obtaining it, has done so much, and so 
wonderfully exerted His own omnipotence ? " 

SccontJ IHontfy, Cfjttli S23eck. fHontiag. 

] . Reflect what it is to be confined in one place, even for a 
short time. Suppose a trifling indisposition keeps you in bed 
for a few days, what endless days do those appear ; what a 
grievance and annoyance it becomes ! And if from such illness 
you are unable to change your position, it becomes an actual 
martyrdom. But suppose this confinement were not for a few 
days, but protracted through weeks and months, how tedious, 
how insufferable it would become ! So much so, that your 
friends and physicians, to keep you from sinking under it, 
would every moment try to support your spirits, by showing 
you the necessity of it for your good, and representing your 
recovery as very near. Every day you would ask the question, 
" How soon shall I be up ?" "How long do you think it will be 
before I can get out ? " You would assure your friends, and 
really imagine that the fresh air, a change of scene, the face of 
nature, would soon revive and restore you. Further, suppose 
this confinement to be not in your own house, where you had 


every comfort about you, and friends to sympathize with you r 
but far away from home, amidst strangers whom you do not 
know, or who abandon you to your fate. How much more 
grievous would this appear to you ? Advance a step further, 
and imagine it to take place in a prison, a dungeon closely 
vaulted over, damp, dark, with little or no air in it. Into this 
dungeon below ground imagine yourself thrust, so that you see 
no one except your gaoler, who from time to time gives you 
your food. His face, though harsh and unfeeling, soon 
becomes the most pleasant object you see. Dreadful as this 
confinement would be, where you could only move to and fro 
a few paces, how terribly aggravated it would be, if after some 
time, while you were full of life and hope, you were some day 
seized by rude attendants, laid down on your back on a hard 
stone pallet, a chain put round each limb, so as to nail you 
down to the four corners of it, and an iron collar round your 
neck, so that you could not look round, but must all day have 
your eyes fixed upon one and the same point in the dark stone 
vault. Oh ! what a relief you would now fancy it, if you could 
only turn your head aside from time to time, and look towards 
the grated window, and catch a glimpse of the pale light 
which passes between its bars. But no : day passes over day, 
and no change, no relief. Still you hope : every limb is stiff 
and galled, every sinew sore and contracted ; your eyeballs are 
weary and dimmed, your brain reels, your reason begins to 
waver, your thoughts and resolutions become perplexed. You 
can bear it no longer. You ask your gaoler for what time you 
have been condemned to this cruel punishment ; how long this 
dreadful confinement is to last? He answers you in two 
words, " For ever " ! 

2. Reflect how faint an image is this, of the confinement of 
the damned in the prison of hell. Imagine yourself, therefore, 
not chained down to a miserable straw bed, but straitened in 
every limb, so as to be immoveably fixed upon an iron bed, and 
that bed a bed of fire ; every inch of the body seems bound 
round, swathed in a burning chain, which keeps it motionless. 
In a prison, there is air, however impure to breathe ; there is 
light, however wan and faint to see. But here, all is darkness, 
worse a thousand times than that of Egypt ; for with all its 


denseness, and oppressive weight, it allows the wretched 
captive to see all that can affright and torment him. Here he 
is not left freely to breathe what little air can come to his 
nostrils ; but he is one in the midst of millions piled up one 
upon another, all infectious, fetid, and most noisome. There 
is hardly any kind of suffering more dreadful to conceive than 
that of suffocation. We may imagine the frightful condition 
of a poor soldier on the field of battle, on whom a heap of men 
and horses has fallen, and who, wounded and faint, cannot 
extricate himself. How he pants, and writhes in agony, to get 
at least his head where he may breathe a little air ! He cares 
not even for the smart of his wounds, compared with the 
dreadful choking agony in which he lies ! What then must 
confinement be, in the midst of countless heaps upon heaps of 
such accursed wretches as the damned, one piled upon an 
other, so as not to leave room to stir a finger, or alter the 
tension of a muscle. A few moments even of some dreadful 
nightmare are sufficient to affect us with sensations of 
horror. Fancy a nightmare in which you are surrounded by 
monsters, that press you down and prevent your stirring, to 
last for days, and weeks, and months, and years. Yet amidst 
this press, there will be room, enough for the unsubstantial 
spirits of wickedness to insinuate themselves, and move about, 
presenting themselves incessantly in one horrible shape or 
another, and permitted by Omnipotence to inflict frightful 
torments. These are the gaolers of this terrific prison. When, 
in the earthly dungeon, you were told that your punishment 
would last for ever, you might have smiled and said : " No, 
no, one end it must soon have ; death at least will come before 
long to my relief." But in this last dungeon the answer " for 
ever," will be true in its most literal sense. " For ever," will 
be the scoffing gibe of devils at your ear ; "for ever," will be 
the] echoing groan of every despairing fellow-captive around 
you : " for ever " will be the piercing accent of conscience in 
each of the reprobate themselves. No end, no alleviation to 
the overwhelming bitterness and sufferings of this hideous 

3. Affections and resolutions. " Such is the place prepared 
for me : and what is more, such is the place I have deserved ! 


Not only could God have justly cast me headlong into it, but I 
have sported upon its very brink, I have danced upon a rotten 
plank over its mouth. I should have fallen in, I should now be 
lying there bound in those chains of fire, choked among 
those countless sufferers of the wrath of God, had not His 
right hand saved me, instead of thrusting me down. But now, 

my God, now that by Thy grace, I understand the terrors of 
that place of woe, my determination is finally taken : I will 
enter no prison, where Thy wrath is enkindled ; no dungeon 
where traitors to Thee are confined. I am Thy poor- loving 
child, who may indeed come short of Thy will through frailty ; 
but a deliberate offence against so good, so dear a Father, I 
never will commit. Punish me then as Thou wilt ; but never, 

1 entreat Thee, send me where Thy curse would follow me. 
I have no part, and, by Thy grace, I never will, with those 
reproved ones to whom such a place belongs. Pull down then 
my pride, crush all my evil inclinations, repress whatever can 
lead me to sin, that I may not deserve again to be chained 
down at a distance from Thee, where all blaspheme Thee, and 
there is none to praise Thee. Non mortui laudabunt te 
Domine." Strike into my veins and heart a salutary dread of 
this place of woe, and let nothing on earth induce me to incur 
a danger of deserving it. 

ifflontfj, Cfjirtr SHcdt. 


the same as Christ s. 

1. Reflect how our priesthood is a continuation of the apo 
stolic commission. "What were the apostles 1 They were a 
small body of men, chosen by Jesus Christ out of the mass of 
the faithful, to be His special friends and ministers, co-operators 
with Him in the great work of enlightening and saving man 
kind. With what special solemnity, and with what expressive 
words, were their various commissions given them ! Our 
Saviour prayed all night before choosing them. He who 


knew the hearts and souls of men ! He chose them not merely 
from the crowd, but from His attached disciples ; many of 
whom, as the seventy-two, were worthy of the highest offices 
and commissions. He trained them incessantly in His school ; 
had them under His own eye, correcting, reproving, instructing 
them, delegating to thetn His power, exacting of them an 
account of its exercise. They enjoyed the inestimable benefit 
of His example, and a familiar intercourse with Himself. 
Then, when He bestowed upon them their commission, how did 
He speak 1 " Omnis, potestas data est mihi in coslo et in terra, 
Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos. Qui vos audit me 
audit, et qui vos spernit me spernit." Can any delegation of 
power and authority go beyond this 1 Could anything more 
have been given to the apostleship than is here given 1 The 
apostles are by it raised far above the degree of any earthly 
authority ; far above the sphere of dignity which the highest 
worldly office can confer. Now this ministry was not intended 
to perish with its first possessors. On the contrary, excepting 
some personal, powers necessary for the first foundation of His 
Church, and inherent in His first followers, all the authority, 
all the sublime commission given to them, was to descend to 
their legitimate successors in different degrees. These suc 
cessors they appointed ; and, through the line of succession so 
formed, we are linked to the commission then given. And is 
it possible that I, so utterly unworthy of such honour and 
dignity, shall ever truly call myself, and be entitled to con 
sider myself, to hold powers conferred in such sublime unlimited 
terms as these 1 Can the Son of God have contemplated, in 
bestowing them, the possibility of their descending upon one so 
utterly undeserving of them 1 But what a heavy responsibility 
must weigh upon me ! What a bin-then that must be, which 
results from holding the same authority as the apostles nay, 
more, as Christ himself held ! 

2. Reflect how the apostles fulfilled the commission given 
them ; and, hence, how we are expected to fulfil them. They 
showed, when their Master had ascended from them into 
heaven, that they fully understood the awful solemnity with 
which their ministerial commission had been given to them, 
and the duties it imposed. They did not consider it a mere 


honour, a dignity before men, as we too often do ; a profession 
or condition of life. No ; they began to exert the power con 
ferred upon them as having been given, even as our blessed 
Lord s had been conferred upon Him,, by His Father. They 
knew no measures for the zeal and earnestness to be exerted 
in discharging it, save only those which His example had taught 
them the sacrifice of every worldly advantage, hope, and feeling ; 
the braving of every danger, every suffering, unto death itself, 
to insure its success. They dispersed themselves over the entire 
world, carrying to every part the light of faith, and the know 
ledge of salvation. " In onmem terram exivit sonus eorum, et 
in fines orbis terrse verba eorum. 7 Not by a mere vain reputation, 
like that of a conqueror or other celebrated man ; but by their 
actual preaching being everywhere heard. It was not, indeed, 
as men honoured or valued by the world, that their influence 
so extended ; but as men persecuted and hated by its great ones 
and powerful ones. Suffering, privation, opposition, persecu 
tion, torments, and death, were their reward for their self- 
devotioii. But they rejoiced when they suffered for the sake 
of their dear Master, and for the preaching of His name. They 
were never fatigued, never overcome ; they persevered to the 
end of their lives, with no thought but for His honour and 
love. If such was the manner in which the apostles dis 
charged their commission, and if I, as their successor, ever 
receive the same, I ought to be their successor in the manner 
as well as the matter of it ; I should resemble them as much in 
their spirit as in their office and gifts. But, on the contrary, 
how cold, how miserably lukewarm am I already in the 
discharge of my duties ; how easily discouraged ! Where is 
my zeal that can bear being placed in the most distant com 
parison with theirs ? Where is my willingness to suffer for 
Christ 1 Where is rny complete devotion to the work of my 
ministry 1 ? What is there in me that can authorize me to 
claim succession from them, further than the mere name of 
priest ? 

3. Affections and resolutions. " Alas, alas ! my God, how 
can I answer these questions 1 Or rather, how shall I answer 
them one day, when Thou shalt call upon me to render Thee 
an account of my commission, and that, as if to convict me of 


being an unprofitable servant, in the presence of Thy chosen 
twelve, who shall sit to judge with Thee ? Will they not consider 
and pronounce me to be a disgrace to the apostolic state and 
character ? What a poor account shall I be able to give Thee ! 
But, O best and most gracious of Masters, if yet Thou reservest 
some little more time for me ; if I have some short space left me 
to labour in Thy cause, I am determined that it shall be wholly 
given to Thee, and to the work of my ministry, according to 
the apostolic spirit. Strengthen me, dear Lord, for the work. 
Gird my loins, and give me resolution, zeal, charity, patience, 
resignation, unwearied perseverance in my undertaking. And 
you, O glorious apostles of my Master, my fathers in the faith, 
my examples in my charge, my predecessors in my ministry ; 
and, above all others, ye more glorious two, at whose ashes I 
have so often knelt to implore your intercession, despise me 
not, reject me not, but rather take and place me under your 
blessed protection. Teach me, however humbly, to copy you ; 
shelter me under your patronage, at the last day ; and bring 
me to a crown, among your faithful successors, the imitators of 
your apostolic virtues." 

Mont}), Ojtrto fflHcefe. 

1. Reflect what a sweetness and meekness of character and 
behaviour our Blessed Redeemer must have exhibited through 
the course of His public life. Although habitually performing 
such works as no other ever had performed, He seems never 
to have thereby excited feelings of awe or terror, but rather of 
confidence and love. His apostles seem to have lived on 
terms of affectionate familiarity with Him, although, of course, 
mingled with respect and deep reverence for His sacred cha 
racter. The sick and impotent well knew His gentleness ; for 
they never feared to approach Him. And when the blind men 
of Jericho called out to Him on the wayside, the crowd seemed 
to fear lest their continued outcry might be wanting in respect, 
and rebuked them ; but Jesus stood, when He had drawn 


near, and restored them to sight as they desired. The little 
children came around Him ; and here, again, His disciples 
who appeared to fancy that His dignity would be compromised 
by stooping so low as to notice them chid them, and would 
have sent them away. But Jesus, on the contrary, encouraged 
them, brought them close to Him, and put His hands upon 
their heads, and blessed them. Sinners, in like manner, and 
publicans, found Him affable, meek, and most kind to them ; 
when other men, probably greater sinners than themselves, 
refused to associate with them, He accepted their courteous 
invitations, and sat at their tables. He received them to 
mercy in the most condescending manner. Further, with His 
very enemies, He ever exhibited the same meekness and gentle 
ness of disposition, except in circumstances which called for 
reproof. When the hypocrisy of the Pharisees was to be 
denounced to the people, when it was necessary to expose the 
arts of the priests and scribes, He did this with an indignant 
eloquence. But on all other occasions He acted with His usual 
meekness. When they tried to catch Him in His words, as on 
the matter of paying dues or tribute to Csesar, He sought rather by 
prudence and gentleness to remove the difficulty, than to repel 
it with the warmth it might have warranted. When the woman 
taken in adultery was brought before Him, seeing the treachery 
which lurked in their question, He might have dismissed them 
with just indignation ; but, undisturbed by any emotion, He 
adhered to His usual course of mild treatment, and thereby 
more completely brought to nothing their vile and malicious 
attempts. Thus, in every relation of life, in every circumstance 
that arose, we see how justly Jesus could say to each of us, 
" Discite a me, quia mitis sum." Indeed, this virtue may 
rightly be called the distinctive characteristic of the Son of 
Man. And so it is the first exercise of Christian charity 
required of us in our intercourse with others. 

2. Reflect that even such traits of meekness are eclipsed by 
those which He manifested on occasions of severe trials and 
persecutions throughout His life. He did nothing but good 
to His people. He healed all their maladies, cast out evil 
spirits, and even restored the dead to life. He was repaid by 
injuries and persecutions. All the more did He meet them 


with meekness and gentleness. They took up stones to stone 
Him for asserting His true consubstantiality with the Eternal 
Father. He contented Himself with concealment, going out of 
the Temple (John vm. 59). He might, by one word, have 
brought clown fire from heaven, as Elias had done, and con 
sumed the rebels against His omnipotence ; but He preferred 
a milder course. Again, observe His gentle reproof on another 
occasion : "Multa bona opera ostendi vobis, propter quod eorum 
opus me lapidatis 1 " (John x. 32). Or when He was called by 
them a Samaritan and a devil, or was told that only by 
Beelzebub, prince of the devils, He cast them out ; on all these 
occasions, He gave no sign of resentment or personal indigna 
tion at the blasphemy, but answered with the utmost meekness 
and forbearance. He was even careful to tell these impious 
men, that blasphemy against the Son of Man, against Himself, 
could be forgiven. On another occasion the people took Him 
to the brink of the precipice, on which their town was built, 
to throw Him from it headlong. Instead of displaying 011 
them His avenging might, and utterly destroying them, He 
chose to pass through their hands unseen, and thus prevent 
their murderous attempt. In short, when do we see Him 
harsh, unkind, or other than most gentle and meek?^ And if 
we come to His blessed passion, what have we but the most 
beautiful and signal lesson of those virtues, under circum 
stances of unparalleled trial 1 From his humble entrance into 
Jerusalem upon an ass s colt, till He expires upon the cross, it 
is one uniform practice of this virtue. He goes to meet 
Judas, and receives the traitor s kiss ; He heals by a touch the 
ear of Malchus ; He stands tranquil and forbearing before the 
wicked priests ; only by a gentle look does He rebuke Peter 
for his ungrateful denials of Him. He is silent before Pilate 
and Herod ; calm under all the indignities of that morning ; 
uncomplaining and kind in His words to the pious women 
who followed Him. On the cross itself contemplate His tender 
care of His blessed mother and His beloved disciple; and 
His compassion and pardon for the penitent thief. Are not all 
these so many wonderful examples of a superhuman meekness 
worthy of Himself 1 What a model is here for me to copy ! 
What lessons to learn ! 


3. Affections. " Ah, my dear Redeemer, well mightest 
Thou bid me learn from Thee this virtue. Much, very much, 
do I stand in want of it. I am impatient, hasty, unforbearing, 
ever inclined to be resentful and take offence, and yet I am a 
miserable sinner, worthy of all that the world can inflict on me. 
If all men united in a conspiracy to make me suffer, it would be 
well deserved. But Thou, our Holy One, good and pure above 
the angels, benefitting all yet subjected most undeservingly to 
treatment the most vile and cruel, Thou dost suffer it all 
with unfailing gentleness, with unshaken serenity of counte 
nance and soul. Shame, then, upon me that I should be so weak 
and so proud j and still more that my conduct should be at 
such variance with Thy blessed example. But no. Here, at 
the foot of Thy cross, I protest myself ready to begin. I will 
copy and learn of Thee in this Thy cherished virtue. I will 
bear with all the troubles, annoyances, and ill treatment of 
men. I will receive all suffering as from Thy loving hand, 
given to me as an occasion to grow more like Thyself. I will 
be meek, because Thou wert meek, because Thou dost love the 
meek ; for I desire to be like Thee in all things, and thus to be 
loved by Thee." 

ON MISSIONARY DUTIES. On the Love of Souls. 

1. Reflect how the entire duties of the missionary life are 
based upon charity, and that a charity directed to the noblest 
part of man, his soul. We shall lack the first qualifications for 
their worthy discharge, unless we have the chaste love of our 
neighbour s soul. "We may sometimes see a, zeal that termi 
nates in the hatred of error, in the admiration of religion, in 
attachment to the truth for its own sake, in desire to destroy 
the usurpation of falsehood and deceit, and in many other such 
motives. They may be all good in themselves, and may enter 
into the composition of a genuine zeal for what is good ; but 
the true and only solid foundation for missionary zeal is, the 
love of souls. We have been made fishers of men. We are to gain 


them, to gather them unto salvation, without thinking of 
any earthly reward. He who does not love men s souls will be 
content with a mere discharge of his professional duties towards 
such as belong to his flock, or come of themselves to him ; but 
he will not lie in wait for them, to catch them for Christ, and 
bring them, when they have strayed, into His blessed fold. 
He will not be alive, as he ought, to every opportunity of doing 
good, even to those who wish it not, even to those who hate what 
is good. " What," he will say, " is such a one to me 1 He is no 
part of my charge. Why should I go after him 1 " But if he 
knew and felt the value of that one soul, and loved it as he 
ought, in Jesus, surely he would not think anything too much 
to save it. And so the pastor who truly feels an affection for 
the soul of every one, will ever be alive to the wants of the 
meanest, and will not value himself or his comforts as any 
thing ; but willingly be " anathema " for the least of his 

2. Reflect upon the motives we have to love the souls of our 
neighbours. In the first place, they are created to God s image 
and likeness. They bear, each one, His stamp upon them. If 
you were to find anywhere the picture of one most dear to you 
thrown carelessly away, in danger of being destroyed, and 
even ignominiously treated, would you not make every effort to 
preserve it ? Or, if you only knew that such a thing was 
lively to happen, would you not exert yourself to discover how 
you might prevent such an outrage 1 And yet shall we see 
men s souls, the closest image of the God whom we love, 
perishing, and that for ever ; and yet coldly delay to stretch 
forth a hand to save them 1 Shall we allow false respects to 
influence us ; or weigh the difficulty of interfering, or the 
amount of actual obligation to do so ? Others may, indeed, be 
under greater responsibility than we are : it may, in our case, 
be no matter of strict duty. But can we be said to love God 
with all our hearts, and with all our souls, if we act and reason 
thus ? In the second place, these souls are dearly loved by 
Jesus Christ, whom we affect to love. No love can be perfect, 
or even good, which carries not the affections to objects 
especially beloved by those whom we love. Can any one be 
truly my friend, who shows no affection or partiality for those 


whom I love most tenderly! Our Blessed Redeemer -loves 
most dearly the souls of men, for the same reasons that He loves 
mine. If then I do not love them, I show that I do not suf 
ficiently consider the motive of His love for myself. But the 
love which Jesus has displayed for souls has not been a love in 
words, nor a barren love : it is one which has cost Him dearly. 
Every one of these souls has been purchased by Him, at the 
price of His most precious blood, a price beyond all power of 
valuation. What an esteem then must He have held them in I 
Beyond that in which he held his own life ! How just then it 
is that we should feel some small portion of this same love. 
But if Jesus Christ has loved these souls so much, we can 
certainly present Him no homage or token of our love more 
acceptable than that of souls which we have saved through our 
exertions for His sake. Every one whom we can rescue from 
the jaws of destruction, every one whom we prevent slipping 
off the right path, is a new claim upon His love. As the 
instruments, then, of acquiring so much merit with God, so 
much favour with our dear Saviour, they surely ought to be 
objects of our affection : they will be a crown of glory to the 
head of him who helps to save them. "Who will not do his 
utmost to secure as many of them as possible for himself? Our 
Redeemer has been pleased, in a certain sense, to make over to 
us His solicitude and care in their behalf. Who of us shall 
venture to say with Cain : " Numquid custos fratris mei e go 
sum ?" Such an unbrotherly, such an unnatural question 
would be instantly rebuked in the severest terms by Him, who 
has taken us into a participation of His character as the good 
Shepherd of His flock. He would reply how that " Unicuique 
mandavit defratre suo" To every one of us He has given a 
general charge in favour of each of our neighbours. He has not 
said to us, " You shall labour only for such a number, you shall 
try to save Me so many." No : all the souls which He has 
redeemed are committed to our affectionate interests, and the 
limits of our exertions in their behalf can only be the limits 
of our power. 

3. Affections. " Can I, my dear Saviour, wish for any rule 
of my affections, save that which Thou has given me ? Shall I 
ever refuse to love that which Thou dost so feelingly love 1 


And if so, shall I not love, as my own, the soul for which Thou 
didst labour .so much, and suffer so much? Queer ens me 
sedisti lassus, Redemisti crucein jxtssus^ each of them may say. 
And surely greater love than this no man hath, that he should 
lay down his life for his friends. Teach me, then, O, my dear 
Lord, this holy science of love, this pure disinterested affection 
which flesh and blood cannot teach, nor even comprehend. 
Teach me to love not in words, but in deeds, the souls which 
Thou hast made, and redeemed by Thy blood. Make me 
zealous for their salvation with Thine own zeal, a zeal of 
charity, springing from a feeling interest in the salvation of 
those whom I love in Thee and for Thee. Spread this fire 
through all my brethren, that we may all co-operate in the 
spirit of love to recall those who have wandered from Thy fold, 
and to keep from perishing any of the sheep of Israel. Make 
this the principle of our labours in Thy cause, and let us imitate 
Thee in our earnest and loving exertions to save as many 
as we may of those for whom Thou hast died." 

fHcntfj, CTjivt JEEtccft. JFrrtng. 

THE PASSION. PR.ETORIUM. Our Saviour is Scourged. 

[Same Subject.] 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your Blessed Redeemer 
tied to a pillar and cruelly scourged by the Roman soldiery. 

1. Reflect how the brutal executioners proceed to the task 
of inflicting cruel torments upon our Lord. Having bound 
Him to the pillar, they deal their furious blows upon His 
sacred shoulders, back, chest, and arms. First, His tender flesh 
swells and inflames, then the skin becomes torn, and the blood 
oozes through gashes that begin to be formed ; then more 
copious streams pour down on the pavement. At length every 
part is covered by one continuous bruise, and the flesh is torn 
in flakes from the bones. One wretch succeeds another in the 
cruel work, till they are wearied out, and their sinewy frames 
exhausted, though the patience of their divine Victim remains 
unmoved. What a piteous spectacle does our dear Jesus now 



present ! What a contrast to what He was but the evening 
before, when seated at His banquet of love with His twelve, 
and John, the beloved disciple, leaning on His bosom ! If 
that disciple saw Him during this cruel flagellation, what a 
tender sorrow must he not have felt, and how bitterly deplored 
the sad change of His aspect ! And ought I not to feel even 
as that beloved disciple felt for my dear Saviour s sufferings ? 
Was He not as much my Saviour as his 1 When this sorrow 
ful act in the sacred tragedy was ended, our Lord is untied from 
the column, and left faint and bleeding, and deserted. There 
is no friend near to aid Him. His disciples are away, and the 
brutal executioners are the last to render Him any assistance. 
Exhausted with loss of blood, His soul only retained in His 
body by the Divinity, that He may accomplish His sufferings on 
Calvary, He puts again the rough woollen clothes upon His 
mangled limbs, and thus increases His excruciating pains. 

Consider, too, the change which has taken place in His 
position, with regard to the people. He is now a disgraced, 
degraded character. The lash has touched Him, has cruelly 
torn Him. He is now before them as a tried and condemned 
criminal, as a public malefactor. They will not believe that 
their priests could have gone to such extremities as to deliver a 
descendant of David to the heathen s scourge without sufficient 
cause. But, however innocent, He cannot again hold up His 
head among the children of His people. One who has been 
scourged can hope for no further influence among them. He 
must give up all pretensions to be their Messias. Who will 
now own Him as such 1 Oh, how many upon seeing Him thus 
treated, denied Him like Peter ! How many not only swore 
that they never had known the man, but regretted that they 
ever had followed or known Him ! How many were ashamed 
at this first step in the scandal of the Cross ! 

2. Reflect upon the motives which impelled our adorable 
Jesus to submit to a suffering as disgraceful as it was cruel. 
His prophet had before declared it, saying, " Cujus livore sanati 
sumus ;" " Attritus est propter scelera nostra" It was for our 
sake ; and this in a twofold sense. First, that He might redeem 
us. For it seems evident that He deemed the work of our 
redemption incomplete, unless it purchased our hearts to Him 


as well as our souls. He suffered, therefore, for our sins, to 
save us from their slavery, and from their eternal consequences ; 
but He chose to perform this work in such a way as might 
best secure our affections besides, by testifying to us what He 
was ready and most willing to suffer for us. Hence this 
almost superfluous suffering of so many and such cruel pre 
liminary torments, which form perhaps the bitterest portion of 
His passion ; but what hardened, what obdurate hearts ours 
must be, which required such means to bring them to His love ! 
What a miserable, ungrateful being am I, if, after all this, 
I resist His calls and claims to my affections, and surrender not 
my entire undivided heart to His divine love ! 

Besides this motive for so much suffering, Jesus had likewise 
in view my improvement. He wished to give me an example of 
patience and silent endurance, not only under the severest in 
fliction which may visit me from the hand of God, but under 
such unmerited sufferings as may come from the injustice and 
malice of men. Oh, who will repine at being reproached and 
disgraced before men, when he sees his dear Saviour scourged 
publicly at the pillar ? Who will be tender about his good 
name, when he thus contemplates the Lord of glory humbled 
before all His people, His chosen disciples, His beloved mother, 
as a public criminal, and treated as the basest of men ? Nay, 
rather welcome the ignominy of the cross, and let it be our glory. 
Let humiliation and disesteem from men be our preference 
and our portion on earth, since earth could so debase and out 
rage the Son of God. Who would yearn for fame and honour, 
when He is covered with reproach and shame ? 

3. Affections. Present yourself to your beloved Saviour, 
after this suffering, and devoutly address Him, saying, " My 
dearest and ever merciful Jesus, who shall recognize Thee, the 
Lord of Heaven, in this cruel plight, covered from head to foot 
with Thy sacred blood, gashed and rent in this frightful 
manner 1 Who, dear Jesus, hath treated Thee thus ? Who 
hath had the barbarity to mangle Thy tender flesh in this sort 1 
Oh, if Thy meek silence would allow Thee to speak, if at this 
moment Thou couldst utter a reproach, Thou wouldst surely 
answer me in the words of Nathan : < Thou art the man ! 
Yes, too well I know it. My sins and foul transgressions have 

K 2 


been Thine executioners : they were armed with lashes for Thy 
blessed body, and heavily and cruelly they laid them on Thee. 
Wretch that I have been, ungrateful, unnatural, unfeeling ! 
1 Upon Thy lack sinners have ploughed (Ps. 128 ; Heb.) ; 
but not merely those representatives of ours who wielded the 
whips and the rods, but we, we who live ; I who now address 
Thee, in shame and contrition. Oh, this was too much for 
Thee to endure on behalf of such a wretch ! It was too much 
goodness, too great affection to submit to such ignominies and 
such brutal treatment. It is a spectacle too distressing even 
for my flinty heart to bear. Oh, that it could have been spared 
Thee ! But Thy love knows not the word too much. It is 
insatiable; it will devour every reproach and shame, and 
torment for us, to save us and to gain us. Blessed be Thou by 
us all for ever : grant us grace never to think we can requite 
Thee with too much love. Ego in flagella paratus sum, I 
am ready, my dear Jesus, to suffer with Thee, whatever Thy 
eternal Father shall be pleased to appoint ; I will be resigned 
and patient after Thy blessed example, under whatever suffer 
ing shall be appointed for me." 

SrtontJ H0nt:j, Cfjirfc ffiElcck 

of Learning. 

1. Eeflect how good a thing is knowledge, when not merely 
that which puffeth up, but that which by charity edifieth. It 
is the study of God in His works, or in His providence, or 
in His intelligence as communicated to man. Hence, if He be 
kept ever in view, there can be no danger of those branches of 
human learning, as they are called, being pernicious or evil. 
But knowledge is particularly enjoined by God on His priests in 
the Old Law, the figure of the New, when He says that the 
lips of the priests shall keep knowledge, and the people shall seek 
the law at his mouth. Now if learning was necessary in that 
covenant, which was but imperfect, and in that priesthood 
which was but earthly, handed down from father to son, how 


much more must it be in the New, where everything should 
approach as near as possible to perfection; where the priesthood, 
being by divine vocation and mission, requires each more 
personally to fit himself for his duties. The first and principal 
class of knowledge which the priest must naturally seek, will 
be the sacred. It is true that in the course of an ecclesiastical 
education we go through the principles of theological science 
but how far do we attend to their cultivation afterwards 1 
Do we not forget much that we learnt while students, from 
considering those pursuits as qualifications for receiving orders, 
not for the important duties of our future state ? or from con 
sidering them rather as tasks imposed upon us by our superiors, 
than as solemn obligations required of us by God 1 Did we 
really view them in that light, we should take a much deeper 
interest in them ; we should study much more to arrive at a 
comprehensive knowledge of them, and not content ourselves 
with the dry outline presented in the elementary course. 
But there is another branch of sacred learning, which we are 
in danger of overlooking, which yet is most necessary for us. 
This is the science of the inward life, the direction of souls 
in the ways of perfection. The rules of moral guidance we 
know, as a matter of course, and experience makes us masters 
of them. "We shall be able to tell our flocks what is sinful and 
what lawful ; but if any soul should present itself for direction 
and instruction, which the Spirit of God has illuminated more 
inwardly, and has plainly called to greater spiritual perfection, 
what should we do ? Should we not, from ignorance of the 
iiiles of the inward life, and from want of personal experience 
of its practice, be obliged to leave such a soul without direc 
tion, and consequently exposed to grievous dangers and illu 
sions] or else check the grace of God, and resist His holy 
Spirit, by discouraging it from following that perfection which 
we ourselves cannot understand 1 Again, should we not be at 
a loss to distinguish between a real call to perfection cor 
responded with, and a mere spirit of pride and presumption, 
or some other spiritual deceit 1 ? All these dangers would be 
avoided, if we applied ourselves diligently to this study of 
the inward life, both in the lives and writings of the Saints 
most distinguished for it, and in our own meditation, aiming 


at a spirit of closer union with God, and the practice of silent 
prayer, with the other virtues necessary to attain it. While 
other parts of the Church are constantly enriched by God with 
chosen and interior souls, attaining a high degree of contem 
plative perfection, are we not greatly devoid of such ? And 
the reason must surely be, that we do not apply ourselves to 
the science of conducting them to it. 

2. Reflect on the cogent reasons, drawn from the honour of 
God and zeal for his neighbour s salvation, which render 
knowledge most important to the priest. By the " oppositions 
of knowledge, falsely so called," the glory of God is daily 
diminished before men; His truth impugned, and His very 
name blasphemed. It is the duty, and should be the ambition, 
of every priest, filled with a zeal for his Master s honour, to 
beat down and counteract such impiety, and defend that honour. 
How shall he possibly do so without a learning equal, at least, 
to that of his enemies 1 How shall he reply to the many 
objections drawn from every science, if he be not acquainted 
with them 1 It is plain that either he must allow the honour 
of God to be assailed, and in some sort to suffer loss, by remain 
ing silent, when men naturally expect a reply from him or 
else, by an unskilful defence give his adversary the victory. 
The good and the zealous priest, therefore, should ever be, 
according to St. John Chrysostom, as a warrior, armed at all 
points, so as to be able both to repel and to retort upon his 
enemy s line, any attack which is made on the cause of truth. 
But this learning is still more recommended to us by the interest 
we have in the salvation of our neighbours, and especially in 
the conversion of such as are separated from the true Church. 
It is evident that in our times, more than in bygone days, when 
society was less imbued with knowledge, a learned clergy is 
necessary to confute error, and to win the attention of men. 
If, therefore, we sufficiently prize the souls of our neighbours, 
we shall exert ourselves with proportionable diligence in the 
acquisition of solid learning. 

3. Resolutions. "Thou, O God, hast said to Thy priests, 
Quoniam repulisti scientiam, Ego repellam te. These are 
awful words, which each of us should lay upon his own soul. 
Thou hast committed to us a solemn charge in the care of Thy 


faithful, and one of the principal conditions for its fulfilment 
consists in the science and learning, both spiritual and earthly, 
which may enable us to satisfy, to gain, and to save all. Give 
me, then, Thy grace to labour for the acquirement of this 
necessary learning. Make me ever diligent in its pursuit, and 
enlighten my understanding, that I may profit by my diligence. 
But, beyond all other learning, make me, I beseech Thee, 
deeply versed in the science of the Saints, in the mysteries of 
the spiritual life, in the wisdom of life eternal. Teach me by 
the light and practice of Thy Saints ; still more, teach me in 
the interior of my soul. Speak to me in holy meditation, and 
bring me gradually into the practice of a deep and loving con 
templation of Thee, who art our inward light and life, that so 
I may be able to guide others in the path of Thy perfection 
to my own and their salvation." 

SrconU fHontfj, Jmtrtfj SHeife. Suntag. 

MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Inducements we have to 
become Saints. (On the Obligation to become so.) 

1. Reflect how it has pleased God to enforce the claims He 
has upon our undivided duty, by motives that may recommend 
them to our feelings. Thus He has appointed that a holy life 
should be a life of the greatest happiness attainable here below. 
No one else can enjoy the manifold blessedness which He has 
allotted to His saints. None but they enjoy a true serenity 
and peace, within and without. Their passions and appetites in 
complete subjection to the spirit ; their thoughts and actions 
under the entire control of God s law, their spiritual enemies 
are bound as in a chain,. and little disturbance is felt from the 
suggestions of the old man. At any rate, they are perfectly 
free from all the racking tortures and remorses of the wicked. 
As to the future, they know that their lots are in God s hands, 
that is, in the hands of their best friend, who has constant 
thought of them and of their welfare. The past, however much 
it be a subject of sorrow and regret, they commit to the same 
faithful keeping of Him who loves to do mercy rather than to 


revenge. Without, they enjoy equal peace : for, as they love 
all men, respect their feelings, and ever seek to do them good, 
they will, in return, be considerately treated by them ; or if, 
as too often, they be persecuted, they have learnt to suffer with 
patience and cheerfulness all that can be inflicted on them by 
others. But besides this inward and outward peace, resulting 
from the absence of all that can disturb them, they possess 
positive comfort in the assurance of God s favour and friend 
ship. They know and feel that He is with them and within 
them, guiding and protecting them. His rod and His staff 
lead them into pleasant pastures, His table is ever spread for 
them, He is their shepherd, their delight, and their salvation. 
In Him they find riches, spiritual treasures, such as all the 
treasuries of earth, the wealth of kingdoms, cannot give or 
equal. In Him they find honours ; for He constitutes them 
His friends, His children, His heirs, destined one clay to reign 
with Him in His glory. Looking, then, at our vocation to be 
saints, and at the commands of God to labour earnestly to 
become such, with human feelings even, and as it were with 
the eyes of the flesh, we ought to find inducements enough to 
undertake the task. If we value even our temporal happiness, 
we should seek it here by raising ourselves above the dis 
quietudes and troubles of the world, and the corruptions of 
our hearts, and by placing ourselves in the hands and favour of 

2. Reflect on the still stronger inducements which we have 
to become saints, in the resemblance which we acquire thereby 
to the chosen ones of God. All rational creatures may be 
divided into two classes : those who are on His side, and those 
who are against Him. In the other life these two classes are 
frightfully distinguished, and separated for eternity ; the one 
is partaker of His joys in His heavenly kingdom, the other is 
barred up in horrible dungeons of everlasting perdition. The 
first consists of the angels and spirits of the just made perfect, 
the other of the devils and the accursed. Now, on earth, two 
corresponding classes or divisions of men exist. Confusedly 
mingled together to our eyes, they are as clearly distinguished in 
the eyes of God, as they will hereafter be in the world to come. 
They consist respectively of the Saints and of the enemies of 


God. When therefore He commands me to be a saint, He 
invites, as well as orders me to enter one of these great divi 
sions, and I must range myself upon one or the other side. 
And can I for a moment halt between these two 1 Can I hesi 
tate among which I should wish to be reckoned, or which I 
should like to resemble 1 See how all the saints of God, who 
living on earth, have made it their battle-field whereon they 
have won heaven, encourage and press me to join their ranks, 
and to be like them ! See how their lessons and their exam 
ples prove to me, that there is no alternative for me but to 
accept their invitation, or to fall back upon the other, the hos 
tile array ! What reason, then, for doubt or wavering 1 But, 
while their example and encouragement present the strongest 
inducements to aim at resembling them by being saints, how 
much stronger is that held out by the prospect of being thereby 
brought to close resemblance with our dear Saviour, the Son of 
God ! Being a saint consists in being like Him, the Saint of 
saints, their great model and head. The saints on earth are 
those who closely imitate His example and accurately follow 
His footsteps. In saying that we are determined to become 
saints, we say no more than that we intend to copy His virtues, 
as far as our frailty will permit us ; that we desire to follow 
St. Paul s exhortation " Estate imitator es Dei, utfilii carissimi" 
In fact, in the early Church the epithet " Saints" was equiva 
lent to that of Christians, so essential to the idea of being 
Christ s followers did that of sanctity appear. Here again I 
may ask myself, can I hesitate in my choice, when I have the 
offer proposed me of being like unto Jesus, our model or 
pattern 1 

3. Besolutions and affections. " No, most certainly. If all 
this be implied in the command to become saints here on earth, 
surely a command could not be necessary. It must have been 
sufficient to invite us, or even simply to show us that we might 
aspire to such advantages. To have told us that by becoming 
saints, exclusively of the eternal reward prepared for us; we 
should obtain peace and happiness here below, should be 
received into the company of God s favourites, and be like 
Thee, my beloved Saviour, would surely have been inducement 
enough, without any further injunctions, to make me resolve 


as I ought. Yet how little have I done to show my esteem 
for these advantages ! Henceforth, at least, my God, let me 
by my life declare what a value I set upon the high vocation 
to which Thou invitest all Thy followers, when Thou dost 
command them to be saints. Teach me in all things to aspire 
to this dignity, and to its immense advantages ; teach me in 
every action to conform to Thy example, that so I may live 
worthy of Thy loving kindness to me, and worthy of that 
reward Thou dost hold out to me in Thy kingdom." 

Secontf ffitontfjr, Jmtrtfj TOofe. 
LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. On the repose of Heaven. 

1. Reflect upon the character of heaven considered merely 
as a place of rest, " Exultdbunt sancti in gloria, Icetabuntur in 
cubilibus suis;" as a place wherein the oppressor s shaft is 
broken, and the wicked cease from troubling. It is the only 
place where justice is fully and openly done. There are no 
prosperous wicked to grind the faces of the poor, no sickening 
sight of the injustices and vexations which fret away the heart 
of the lowly and the meek. All the load of misery under 
which humanity staggers and groans, which makes our banish 
ment here so intolerable, will have been thrown off for ever 
more. The groaning of creation under the servitude of cor 
ruption will no more be heard. But the essential, the truly 
desirable repose of that happy place will be the repose from 
sin. While we are busied and fretting here below, it stalks 
around us with a bold and haughty front, defying God, to the 
affliction of those who love Him. It has taken possession of 
this His earth, in the name of its infernal promoter and patron. 
It sends forth its emissaries on every side, to convert men to 
its interests by every art of seduction and depravation. It 
humbles and presses to the ground the simple and innocent of 
heart, and despoils the meek of their inheritance. It has 
become the universal tyrant, in all places, at all times. It 
commits its injustices and manifold wickedness under the very 
eye of heaven ; invades the sanctuary and the hearth, the 


throne and the cottage ; reigns in the city and in the country, 
by land and by sea ! It gives us no rest, no peace. What a 
blessed contrast, then, to find ourselves in a land where its 
power is unknown, and its very name unheard ! What a 
hallowed repose, to see none of its wrongs, to fear none of its 
grievances, to be rid for ever of its wicked plottiiigs. But what 
shall there be in its stead ? All the quiet of an existence of 
charity and joy. The turmoil of vanity and of sin will be 
replaced by that everlasting rest, which an ineffable bond of 
love between members of one family can produce. Where 
there is one consent, one will, there peace must be : where 
there is one purpose, one eternal occupation, common to all, 
blessed to all, there must reign contentment, cheerfulness, and 
perpetual calm. Oh how should that soul hasten to enter 
into this rest, which has wandered its many years in the desert 
of this world, troubled by the rebellions, the ingratitude, 
selfishness, worthlessness, and obduracy of its companions on 
the way ! With what eagerness must it look forth, like Moses 
from Nebo, with straining eyes and longing heart towards the 
land of milk and honey, where it shall at length repose beneath 
its own fig-tree and vine ! Who can wonder that St. Paul, 
who had been admitted to the vision of the third heaven, and 
who burned with holy zeal whenever he saw God offended, 
should have anxiously desired to be dissolved, and to be with 

2. Reflect how heaven is, to the virtuous soul, a place of 
repose from the weariness of its warfare here below. It is as 
the labouring man s return to his home at evening, after a hard 
day s toil. It is as the soldier s return to his own hearth, after 
a fatiguing campaign. But upon what different conditions ! 
The one must rise on the morrow, however he may strive to 
forget it, to renew another tedious day of drudgery ; the other 
will soon be recalled to the field of danger, or, if discharged 
from service, must exchange his weapon for implements of 
labour. But the soldier of Christ, who hath fought a good fight, 
returns no more to the contest, and has no morrow of toil to 
forecast. His rest is eternal ; nothing can disturb, nothing can 
alter it. It is a season of unbroken quiet, which no power of 
mischief can ever trouble, even slightly. Delightful as is a life 


of virtue compared with the wretchedness of a wicked life, it is 
still a life of trial and uncertainty, of toil and sorrow. To feel 
the disturbance of inordinate desires which the heart has long 
detested and rejected, to find a resistance to the sincerest and 
most earnest aspirations after heaven, to experience returns 
of weaknesses often conquered, to suffer, in spite of the best 
desires, seasons of coldness and barrenness of spirit, to be sur 
prised, from time to time, into failings, however slight, which 
disturb the mind s serenity : in short, to have to support the 
heavy burden of this clogging flesh, are sources of constant 
uneasiness, disgust and distaste for earth, which make the just 
ever yearn that his desired day, as the hired labourer s, may 
come. And now that it is come in all its reality, in all its 
fulness and security, how welcome, how dear must it appear ! 
No more disturbances of anxious fears and timid doubtfulness, 
no more distractions in God s service, no more claims of 
worldly ties upon the heart and the attention, no more 
anxiety, no more darkness, no more uncertainty. His joy is 
full, and " his joy no man can take from him." 

3. Affections. " Oh, come then, day of peace, season of 
repose ! I would not, indeed, shrink from the battles of my 
God, which are to be fought here below. I wish not to shorten 
my time of probation, so long -as His adorable designs shall 
please to spend me for His glory and honour. But never let 
me wish for a day of earth for its own sake ; never let me 
linger here for any of its passing joys and empty pageants. I 
have not here an enduring city, but I seek another \ Jerusalem, 
the vision of peace, where all is unity, harmony, and joy. 
After this I will sigh, after this I will pant, as the deer after 
the water-springs. It shall be my goal, towards which I will 
ever run, the mark at which I will ever aim the affections of 
my heart. It shall be my country, my home, towards which 
my eyes shall ever turn, as the prophet did towards the earthly 
Jerusalem at the hours of his prayer. There alone shall I 
find, in the bosom of my God, repose and calm. Yes, my God, 
after this Thy dwelling, which is in peace, I will long with every 
beat of my heart, I will aspire with every renewal of my 
breath. There shall my treasure of hopes be placed, that my 
heart may be there too. And if here below this heart be rest- 


less, because, made as it is for Thee, in Thee alone it can ever 
repose, it shall find some peace at least in the hope of one day 
coming to the enjoyment of Thee in the tabernacle of Thy 
rest. Amen." 

Scconti fHontfj, jFourtjj ESUcrit. (Eucsfcag. 

1. Reflect how strongly the duty of denying ourselves is 
enjoined on us in God s Word, particularly in our Lord s own 
teaching. We are commanded to follow Christ by taking up our 
cross and denying ourselves ; we are told even to hate ourselves, 
and to renounce our own will. All these strong sayings are in 
the form of express commands, that leave us no alternative. 
First, what is their meaning 1 Certainly, if we look into our 
selves, we see a principle of evil working in us, a law of the 
members, as St. Paul expresses it, repugnant to the law of 
God ; a rebellion of appetite and of corrupt inclinations against 
the spirit and the power of grace. We find in ourselves a 
moral weakness, a tendency to relax in good effort, and to 
neglect our duty in every part of it. This seems properly and 
almost completely to occupy or form all of ourselves that 
properly belongs to us ; all, that is, which has hot been re 
generated and reformed by the grace of God. We are, how 
ever, called upon to renounce it, and to deny that is, to reject 
all its suggestions as we would those of an enemy ; to disavow 
its authority as we would that of a tyrant ; to protest against 
its acts as we would against those of an usurper ; to refuse all 
participation in its counsels, as we would in those of a deceiver 
who aimed at employing us for his own wicked designs. 
Secondly, what is the obligation of this precept ? It is an 
obligation of the interior. Its seat must be where the deepest 
corruption lies, in the heart. It is there that self shows most 
distinctly its perversity, sinfulness, and misery. There is the 
source and reservoir of all the mischief which flows outwards 
over each of our actions, and of all the viciousness which taints 
each of our faculties. The desires of our o\vn hearts are there- 


fore the first objects of the virtue of self-denial. These must 
be denied, renounced, subdued in every possible way. From 
these we shall naturally turn our thoughts to all that, though 
not positively evil, is yet not in accordance with the severe 
restraint the Christian should ever keep upon his inclinations. 
For the course of our failings is generally to begin with small 
deviations from duty ; and if the heart be not immediately re 
strained in these first steps, it hurries on to real violations of 
God s law, and so to abandonment of God. Hence much 
curiosity that in itself might not be sinful may require sup 
pression ; much society, that distracts rather than dissipates us, 
we may be required to abandon j much recreation which but 
slightly disturbs our thoughts may have to be sacrificed. The 
obligation of self-denial thus comes to reach our outward, and 
even our innocent actions, considered as dangerous, and as 
leading us to excess, or at least to loss of inward fervour and 
recollection of God. It will lead us to cut off much super 
fluity, much that is mere vanity, and thus give us the means 
of better serving God, with a purer spirit and an undivided 

2. Reflect how this duty of self-denial is necessary for us, 
from our own experience. We feel that if it be neglected there 
is a proportionate evaporation of fervour, devotion, and union 
with God. A few days of relaxation from severe occupation 
often leads to a diminution of that religious spirit which should 
be the active principle of the inward life. A few hours of 
even innocent dissipation if we may so speak dulls the 
appetite of the soul for spiritual pleasures, and deadens its 
taste for the things of God. And what is there in these, if in 
themselves innocent, but a want of self-denial and restraint ? 
For if we have not yet learnt to restrain our hearts and souls in 
the actual enjoyment of them, we surely ought to restrain 
them in the use of them at all. But besides this personal 
experience of the necessity of self-denial for subduing our 
corrupt and dangerous inclinations, we ought to know that it is 
the only safeguard and parent of many other virtues, equally 
necessary for us. What will purity and chastity become within 
us, if not guarded by self-denial ? Our hearts are a furnace to 
which fuel is ministered by the flesh ; and if the caterers and 


providers of this fuel, the senses, be not watched and placed 
under restraint whenever they go forth to procure it, how shall 
we keep down its destructive conflagration 1 What, again, will 
humility be without if? A barren trunk without leaves (not 
to speak of fruit) to protect it from being burnt up by the pride 
which nature excites in our souls. For self-denial is the first 
offspring, ornament, and safeguard of humility. If we really 
know ourselves, and feel ourselves unworthy of any part in the 
pleasures and enjoyments of life, we shall take care to deny 
ourselves the use of them. If we justly appreciate our weak 
ness, we shall flee from all that can increase it to our peril. 
Whence will mortification spring, if not from self-denial 1 It 
is, in fact, the outward application of this virtue, its active 
principle, and its necessary consequence. How shall we ever 
be truly meek, if we do not deny our hearts all gratification of 
anger, hatred, or ill-will 1 There is no virtue which does not 
in some way depend upon this for support. Hence it has been 
the favourite virtue of every great saint, especially of those 
most remarkable for a penitential spirit, the spirit at which we, 
as sinners, ought to aim. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. "Yes, my God, this heart of 
mine has so often betrayed me into offences against Thee ; it 
has proved itself so false, so corrupt, and withal so deceitfully 
weak, while I had seemed to myself to have engaged it on the 
side of virtue, that I must ever consider it my greatest enemy ; 
an enemy to be kept down by unrelaxing denial of all that it 
seeks, when not tending directly towards Thee. Yes, I re 
nounce from this moment, and disavow its perverse and vicious 
inclinations ; I hate, I loathe all its wicked suggestions. I 
will do so for ever, not in words only, but in deed. Armed 
with the love of the cross of my dear Jesus, encouraged by the 
example of His constant self-denial, I will practise this virtue 
both in affection and in act. I will remember how He, whose 
desires and motions were ever most holy and most perfect, yet 
led a life of constant restraint, of abstinence from pleasure, of 
self-denial if I may so speak of Him in whom was nothing 
which might not have been securely gratified. And I, who am 
but a mass of corruption, whose mind is but a smouldering fire, 
ever ready to burst out if not kept diligently under, what less 


can I do than struggle to deny myself, in conformity with His 
blessed example ? Bless and strengthen, O God, by Thy grace, 
these my poor resolutions." 

Scrcnli IBontfj, Jaurtlj Sfflfofc. 


Preparation. Imagine your Saviour seated on the Mount in 
the midst of His disciples, and with an authority and sweetness 
all His own, delivering His doctrines. 

1. Reflect how strange and new the code of morality 
delivered must have appeared to almost all who heard our 
Blessed Redeemer s discourse on this occasion. The world had 
certainly never heard anything of the kind before. The 
highest point of morality in reference to forbearance which any 
heathen philosopher had reached, or could be supposed to reach, 
consisted in inculcating a certain moderation, or perhaps a 
degree of indifference under the slights and illtreatment of 
men. And even these feelings were closely allied with pride, 
which taught them to despise the efforts of persecutors and 
unjust foes. Even among the chosen people, a forgiving 
morality was but little understood. The Jew could in a manner 
shelter himself under the example of his greatest countrymen, 
when he revolted against the new doctrines of Jesus. Moses, 
the mildest of men, was powerfully avenged of those who 
opposed his authority, his own sister not excepted. David 
often prayed that his enemies might receive sevenfold in their 
bosoms for the evil they did him. Jeremias, the most per 
secuted of the prophets, calls upon God to do him justice with 
those who sought his life. How strange then, how unac 
countable, must the doctrine have sounded in his ears, 
enjoining him to forgive every injury, and bear no resentment. 
But the doctrine of our blessed Saviour by no means ended 
there. He went 011 to command us " to do good to those who 
persecute us, and pray for those who hate and calumniate us." 
Not only to forgive, but to requite with good, the injuries 


inflicted upon us. Not merely to overlook our enemies, which 
yet might have seemed hard enough for flesh and blood ; but 
to think of them in our prayers, to implore all good things for 
them. To us, who have had ever before us the example of Jesus 
-and His saints, this may not appear so very difficult, though 
we practise it so little. But what must it have appeared to 
those who had never seen such things done, even by the most 
perfect 1 How impracticable, how impossible, they must have 
seemed ! At the same time, to the few who received this word 
in a good and perfect heart, how sublime must this new code of 
morality have appeared, how worthy of the true Messias, how 
worthy of God ! How different from the temporizing doctrines 
of the Pharisees, and the intricate precepts of Jewish doctors, 
who, under the cloak of expounding the law, rendered it null 
and void. Jesus at once, heedless (as the world would say) of 
the consequences to His cause, promulgates a code, directly at 
variance with their favourite doctrines, and condemning by 
name the men who upheld them. Then the simplicity, yet 
grandeur, of this new code, which at once ennobles and gives 
sublimity to things the most abhorred, loathed, and condemned 
by men; pronouncing that poverty, Buffering, peacefulness, 
mourning, and meekness are things to be coveted, and making 
them the principal sources of happiness to His followers. Could 
earth, they would ask, have produced such doctrines, at variance 
with its own darling principles 1 Surely, He who first taught 
them, and declared that He had brought them down from 
heaven, must have been in truth what He proclaimed Himself 
to be. 

2. Reflect how different were the sanctions and rewards 
proposed for the observance of these new precepts, from what 
the world, and the hearers of Jesus in particular, must have 
expected. To the observance of the Old Law the rewards at 
tached had been a long life, victory over all enemies, abundant 
riches, plentiful harvests, multiplication of their flocks, and fe 
cundity. In the reign of the Messias, they thought, promises of a 
higher order, though still temporal, would be theirs ; kingdoms 
and their wealth, to be divided among His followers. How 
disappointed many of them must have been, when they heard 
proposed to them, such rewards as consolation for mourning, 



mercy for mercifulness, the sight of God for cleanness of heart, 
the kingdom of heaven for poverty of spirit ! To carnal minds 
which cannot justly appreciate supernatural and invisible 
rewards, what poor objects must these have seemed, to be at 
tained by so much hardship, and the observance of such painful 
precepts 1 But how nobly independent of all prejudices of men, 
how superior to all the usual character of institutions of new 
religions or legislation, is this simple prospect of rewards, 
infinitely superior to all that man could promise, yet so little 
calculated to attract followers from fashion, novelty, or any 
other meaner motive. In truth, this was the great prerogative 
of Christ s religion : to bring the invisible world within the 
compass of man s apprehension, and things infinite and eternal 
within his grasp : to give him a part in spiritual goods, and an 
inheritance in a country not his own : to set him up above the 
ordinary influences of material things, and give him aims and 
purposes of a higher order than those of nature and earth. This 
was first done by our Lord on the Mount, when He gave us, as 
the foundation of His moral code, those eight beatitudes. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. "How exalted above the 
thoughts of men do the counsels and thoughts of God appear ! 
How little of even the noblest earthly feelings is to be dis 
covered in the course pursued by our Divine Redeemer in His 
teaching ! He takes the lowest, the most despised things of 
earth ; and, to triumph over the weakness of our nature, makes 
them the noblest, the holiest, the most sublime. And we, who 
are His disciples, and profess to admire His doctrine, so far 
from esteeming these, continue to speak, to act, and probably to 
feel, even as the carnal Jews, who comprehended Him not. 
But no, my God, whatever Thou hast taught through the 
lips of Thy own incarnate Word, I will ever revere, love, and 
strive to perform. GiA 7 e me Thy grace to aim at the per 
fection which He lias proposed to us. Give me courage to 
preach, without fear, without abatement, the same doctrines, 
and with the same sanctions ; exhorting men to be meek and 
forgiving, sorrowful and poor of heart, clean, and hungry after 
justice. But teach and assist me to practise first all these 
virtues, that so I may preach them by example as much as by 


ftTontfj, JFourtfj SHccfc. 

1. Reflect how unbecoming pride must be in any one who 
truly knows and understands what he is in relation to God. 
Pride consists in a false attribution to ourselves of any good 
quality, real or imaginary, as though it sprang from ourselves, 
or was in any way our own property. Now we all surely 
know that from God alone we derive our very being, and with 
it all else that, under any circumstances, we possess. In this 
world, when any man arrogates to himself praise or distinction 
for anything which we know is not his own, or if he be proud 
of any object of display which we know has been given to him, 
as though it were of his own making, we ridicule, if we do not 
detest, his conduct. But we can be proud of nothing which 
we do not owe entirely to God, unless we become so extrava 
gantly impious as to be proud of our vices or sins. How 
absurd, then, must our pride be in the sight of His angels ! 
Let us rather say, how sacrilegious and wicked must it appear. 
For in truth it is no less a crime than to attempt to rob the 
Almighty of that glory which is exclusively His own. To Him 
alone belongs honour, and He hath said that His honour He 
will give to none. See, then, what a rebellion this pride must be 
against God, what a daring attempt upon His exclusive rights, 
and consequently how odious and offensive to Him. It is a sin 
which He has again and again declared most hateful in His 
sight, so that He tells us that He despises the proud, and gives 
grace to the humble. It is the sin of Lucifer, the king of 
Pride, and of his rebel angels : they were damned for eternity 
for this one sin, only in thought. And we, whenever we 
entertain similar opinions of ourselves, follow them as our 
leaders, and draw down upon ourselves a sentence to be with 
them for ever ! It is the sin which brought into the world 
death, sickness, and every other ill, inclusive of utter reproba 
tion from God : for the pride of our first parents, who aspired 
to be like gods, was the cause of their transgression. It is a 
sin of absolute defiance of God s power, and consequently one 
which beyond all others provokes Him to vengeance. For it is 

L 2 


a declaration of our independence of Him, it is arrogating to 
ourselves a freedom from that homage and continued gratitude 
to which He has a right from all His creatures ; it is, in a 
manner, telling Him to His face that we could do without 
Him, and that we owe Him nothing. What could more pro 
voke .one who held another over the edge of an abyss, to let go 
his grasp, than for him whom he preserved from utter destruc 
tion, to say, instead of thanking him, that he needed not his 
assistance, for he could well support himself alone ? And just 
so does the thoroughly proud man treat Almighty God, and 
even thus does he provoke Him. But after all, what have we 
in general to be proud of? Some empty advantage over those 
around us, a higher station, greater wealth, better abilities, or 
some such temporal distinction. And, after all, what are 
these ? If they have any real value, it is as objects of a more 
severe account to be rendered to God, than those will give who 
enjoy them not. And in this, what matter can we find for 
anything but dread and anxiety, rather than for boast 1 

2. Reflect, if these and other considerations prove pride to 
be unreasonable and most detestable in any one, even the most 
virtuous otherwise, what it must be in one of us sinners, who 
have so much for which to be ashamed and humbled before 
God 1 At the best I could have been but dust and ashes, what 
am I now but filth and corruption ] I, who know myself, my 
own heart with all its worth lessness, surely can find no place in 
which to hide pride within it ! From infancy till my present 
age, what have I done but sin against God, in such sort that if 
but a small part of my iniquities were revealed before men, I 
should shrink away from their sight, and seek where I could 
hide, or rather bury myself, from them. And I, who know 
them all, at least imperfectly, and who feel them as my own 
burthen, shall I ever be able to couple them in my mind with 
thoughts of pride ? Shall I ever think well of myself, so as to 
boast of any little good I imagine myself to possess 1 Then let 
me consider the dreadful uncertainty in which I must ever live, 
whether I have truly repented as I ought of these my offences ; 
and so whether I may not even now be under the curse of 
God, and a stranger to His mercies. But at any rate I feel as 
yet, and ever must, all the weight of my corrupt nature, and 


all the perverse inclinations of my fickle heart. What duty do 
I perform well ? What prayers do I say with becoming devo 
tion 1 What meditation do I make with proper fruit 1 What 
good resolution do I strictly keep ? To what purpose do I 
hold firm 1 In what indulgence do I not exceed 1 In short, 
does not every day, and every hour, afford me motives for 
humiliation and lowly-mindedness, rather than pride 1 Then 
do I not feel in myself even stronger reasons for detesting and 
rejecting all proud thoughts 1 Is not my imagination prone to 
receive evil fancies, my reason inclined to foolish speculations, 
my whole mind a scene of perplexities, inconstancies, and incon 
sistencies ? Is not my heart often barren of good affections, 
feeble in good desires, incapable of any steady attachment to 
virtue and holiness, entangled with worldly cares and solici 
tudes, cold in the love of God ? Is not my whole being one 
mass of imperfections 1 Shall I then be proud ? 

3. Resolutions. " The more I study myself, the more deeply 
I search into the abyss of my own nothingness, the more I 
must loathe and detest this odious vice. What 1 Shall I, a 
sinful and denied creature, dare to lift up my head before Thee, 
my God, and claim from Thee for myself even an atom of that 
glory which belongs to Thee 1 Shall I, the clay, rise up against 
the potter who fashioned me, and say, I owe Him nothing, and 
am not His 1 Down with such fond and intolerable presump 
tions ! Down with every thought that dares to rise in opposi 
tion to the undivided sovereignty of God over my soul, and 
dares to arrogate to itself the smallest portion of His honour. 
No, my God, I know myself for what I truly am, and no more, 
fora sinful, worthless creature, deserving nothing but ignominy, 
reproach, and humiliation before angels and men. Let me, 
then, ever shrink into the consciousness of my 1111 worthiness, 
and there feed my thoughts till they be purged of every proud 
idea, and firmly grounded in humility ; that so Thou mayst 
give me Thy grace, which Thou givest only to the humble." 


SeconU IHontlj, jFourtfj 

UPON THE CROSS. (He is Nailed to the Cross.) 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your dear Redeemer 
hanging on the cross between two thieves. 

1. Reflect upon the cruel torments which our dear Jesus 

must have endured during the three hours He hung on the 

cross. His body was stretched out upon this hard knotty 

trunk, for certainly they who prepared it studied little how to 

make it soft or easy to his limbs. Every sinew and muscle 

of His sacred body must have been in dreadful tension, both 

from His position there, and from the effort which nature 

would make to diminish the pressure upon the wounds of the 

nails. We find it weary enough to lie for a few hours in one 

position upon a soft bed ; and we cannot bear to remain long 

without turning, upon a hard board. What, then, must it have 

been to hang extended upon this rough tree, especially in the 

state of our Blessed Saviour s body. From head to foot is one 

wound ; His head, if it press against the cross, is gored by the 

points of the thorns which are thus driven deeper into it. His 

shoulders and back, which are pressed necessarily against it, are 

flayed and torn with the inhuman stripes which have been 

inflicted upon Him. Against these open wounds presses this 

cruel bed, so that any change of position, so far from relieving 

Him, does but increase His suffering by grating upon and 

rending wider the gashes with which He is covered. But let 

us not lose sight of those four terrible but most precious 

wounds, whereby He is fastened on the cross. Each hand, each 

foot, is transfixed by a long nail, driven into it with violence, 

and every moment tearing wider and wider the rent it has 

made. Oh, what a torturing pain, what incessant suffering 

during the three hours of crucifixion ! Who, dear Jesus, shall 

be able to recount all that Thou didst endure for us in that , 

space of time 1 But, beyond these sufferings, immediately 

inflicted by the act of crucifixion, there were others no less 

severe, which resulted from it. The uneasy and unnatural 

position it produced caused a disturbance in all the nobler 


functions of life. The lungs, surcharged with blood, panted 
with labour and anxiety, in consequence of the compression of 
the chest. The heart, from the same cause, beat heavily and 
painfully, clogged in its motion by the impeded circulation. 
The blood, unable to return from the head by reason of the 
veins being compressed, must have caused a painful apoplectic 
pain. These same causes would produce a distressing heat and 
irritation all over the surface of the face, neck, and chest, 
which He had 110 hand to relieve, and which must consequently 
have been torturing in the extreme. To these sufferings we 
must -add exposure to heat and air, with a body already 
wounded in every part, and covered with sores, inflicted bv the 
torments of the preceding night and that very morning. So 
that not only those parts of the body which pressed upon the 
cross, but every other, must have been painfully sensitive, and 
subject to grievous sufferings. Truly, my Jesus was the King 
of Martyrs, the severest sufferer the world ever saw, for the 
sake of men. 

2. Reflect upon the many other accessories to the tortures of 
crucifixion, which our beloved Saviour endured for you. He, 
the most modest and purest of beings, is exposed before the 
multitude. He is an object, not of their compassion, but of 
their absolute derision. He sees before Him an immense 
crowd, all animated, or rather possessed, by an evil spirit of 
hatred and scorn to Him. Every word that reaches Him is a 
w^ord of bitter insult and mockery. Nearer Him, indeed, is a 
smaller group of faithful and sympathizing followers ; but so 
far from receiving comfort from them, they stand in need of it 
from Him, and cheerfully He gives it. He commends His 
Blessed Mother to the care of His beloved disciple John. 
Peter and His other companions and disciples, the many who 
followed Him from place to place, have disappeared and hidden 
themselves from sight. All that He possesses on earth, His 
few clothes, even to His seamless garment, are unfeelingly 
divided or diced for among the soldiers who had executed Him. 
He is thus alone in the world, without one smallest link with 
it save His love for man, and His earnest desire to accomplish 
our salvation. Lastly, he suffers a racking thirst ; His parched 
lips can no longer endure the dryness which afflicts them, and 


call out for relief. And the cruel men who surround Him 
present Him with gall and vinegar to drink ! Can outrage 
go beyond this 1 Could brutality be carried to a greater excess ? 
Now, surely, we may say that all is accomplished ; that the 
anger of the just God has no more dregs left in the chalice of 
suffering which He had mingled for His Son as the world s 
Redeemer. Now, be His name praised for ever, nothing more 
remains but that death come and put an end to so much 

3. Affections. " O most dear and merciful Saviour, every 
meditation upon Thy Blessed Passion presents fresh motives 
of love and gratitude to my poor soul. I am the culprit, and 
Thou the Sufferer ! I am the sinner, and Thou the Victim ! 
I am the accursed, and Thou bearest my curse ! I have been 
proud, my head has been lifted up in presumptuous thoughts 
and Thy Head is therefore crowned with thorns ! I have 
stretched forth my hands to iniquity, and have not restrained 
them from that which was unlawful ; and Thy Hands are there 
fore fastened with rude nails to the hard cross ! My feet have 
run after vanity, and walked in the paths of wickedness j and 
therefore Thy Feet are held by the same cruel fastenings, upon 
the same hard wood ! My body has been the rebellious enemy 
of Thy law, pampered and indulged ; and for this Thy sacred 
Body is gored and gashed with innumerable wounds ! My 
heart hath loved this world, and refused to beat, as it ever 
ought, for Thee ; and Thy Sacred Heart was racked with unut 
terable grief and anguish ! Is not this too much ? Is it not 
indeed a rigour of divine justice? Oh, depart from me, Lord, 
for I am a sinful man ! But no ! Rather let me draw closer 
to Thee, and to Thy blessed cross, dearer to my heart than the 
golden thrones of earth. There let me ever remain, nor ever 
lose sight of Thy adorable wounds and bitter tortures ; ever to 
read legibly written upon Thy adorable flesh the deserts of my 
sins, and still more the declarations and the claims of Thy 
love ! Yes, every wound is a mouth that pleads for me to 
Thy eternal Father, and contains a powerful plea to win my 
affections to Thee. I will love Thee, Lord, my strength. I 
will love Thee, dear Jesus, my hope, my joy, my salvation ; I 
will love Thee above all things ; I will love Thee alone ! " 


5ccontJ Hontfj, Jmtrtfj rawfc. Saturtoaji. 

This second month will be closed by an examination into the 
manner in which we habitually discharge the duty of prayer. 


The first thing to be done on entering a church or chapel is 
devoutly to adore God there present, and especially the Sacred 
Humanity of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, reposing in the taber 
nacle : then to recollect ourselves, and beg the divine grace 
and assistance for our prayer. Examine whether this be your 
constant practice. 

After this I ought to proceed to my prayers, whatever they 
may be, and endeavour, while reciting them, to attend as 
closely as possible to the meaning of what I say, following the 
sense of the words. Do I take pains to do so 1 Do I, if I 
cannot arrive at the higher degree of attention, at least keep 
myself completely before God, with a consciousness that I am 
all the time addressing Him ? Or do I not find at the end of 
my prayer that I have gone through it by rote, without any 
distinct perception of what I was doing, further than was suffi 
cient for the mere pronouncing of the words ? If during the 
time of prayer I perceive my thoughts wandering, do I 
instantly recall them, and renew my attention and recollection 1 
And at the conclusion of my prayer, do I beg pardon of God 
for the distractions and imperfections which have disfigured my 
discharge of the duty 1 Examine. 

Is my prayer not only attentive but fervent 1 Do I really 
feel what I am saying 1 Do I address myself to God with 
a deep sense of my manifold wants, and a consciousness and 
intimate conviction that if He assist me not, I am lost ? Do I 
truly rely with active confidence in His power and mercy, and 
feel an assurance that what I ask He will grant me, through 
His dear Son Jesus ? And is my prayer offered through Him, 
and through His merits 1 Does my heart burn with an ardent 
love and a proper feeling of the honour and favour bestowed 
upon me in allowing such dust and ashes, and still more, such 


sin. and corruption as I am, to address Him so familiarly and 
be so favourably received? Do I feel the fruit of prayer? 
Does it comfort and strengthen me ? Does it keep me recol 
lected throughout the day 1 Does it leave such an impression 
on me, that I feel a desire to return to it ; am I glad when the 
hour for it conies round ; or do I go to it with a heavy heart, 
as to a disagreeable occupation ? Examine. 


Am I careful never under any circumstances to omit my 
morning exercises ? Do I daily make an offering of my entire 
self to God, presenting to Him my heart, and with all the 
thoughts, words, and actions of the day ? Do I thank Him for 
having watched over me during the night, and given me the 
prospect of a day more in which to love and serve Him 1 And 
do I ask His forgiveness for any faults or offences I may have 
fallen into, since last I addressed Him 1 Examine. 

In celebrating or assisting at mass, have I a proper sense of 
the majesty and dignity of the great Sacrifice 1 Do I redouble 
my fervour and devotion 1 Examine generally, as this will be 
the subject of a special monthly examination. How do I keep 
my attention during the recital of the divine Office 1 Have I 
fallen into a habit of going through it mechanically, and with 
little or no feeling of what I am about 1 Do I say the pre 
paratory prayer with earnestness and attention 1 Do I try to 
enter into the spirit of the Psalms, applying to myself their 
excellent lessons, warmly following the various feelings they 
exhibit 1 Do I remember that I am praying in the name of 
Christ s Church, that the divine Office is part of her great public 
worship and tribute of homage, whereby she imitates the 
angels and blessed souls in Heaven, praising and serving Him 
at all hours of the day and of the night ? Examine. 

How are my evening devotions performed ; with a heavy 
head and dull heart, or with attention and devotion 1 Do I 
thank God with deep gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon 
me during the day, and after a diligent examination of my con 
duct throughout it, humbly and contritely ask His forgiveness 
for my transgressions 1 And do I fervently commend myself 


to His safeguard and kindness for the night, begging particu 
larly that He will keep me from sin ? Do I commend myself 
lovingly to the ever blessed Virgin, to my good angel, and to 
my patron saints 1 Examine. 

Am I truly earnest and devout in my supplications to these 
favourites of Heaven, and do I place a proper confidence in 
their intercession 1 Am I particularly so when I address the 
holy Mother of God 1 Examine. 

Having carefully looked into and discovered our defects in 
this holy exercise of prayer, it is our duty piously to resolve 
upon amendment, if we find there has been any falling off, and 
to bless God if we find our fervour unimpaired. 

a ipragcr far tfjc JFtrst (Easr. 

O blessed God, from whom are all right desires, behold, this 
my examination has laid open to me the extent of my wretched 
ness, and my innumerable defects in this most important of all 
duties. What must become of me without Thy assistance] 
And how shall I obtain this without earnest and fervent sup 
plication 1 Renew, then, within me the spirit of prayer ; 
make me " a man of desires," a lover of devotion, a persevering 
suppliant. Whatever I have lost of fervour, give me back, 
that I may obtain through it Thy grace, and the means of sal 
vation, to which I may come, through Thy Son Christ Jesus 
our Lord. Amen. 

<E ^pragcr for tljc Scconfc Case. 

I return Thee my most humble thanks, O dear and gracious 
Lord, for having been pleased to preserve in me, though so 
unworthy, some of Thy good spirit, whereby I may serve 
Thee. Keep me still in Thy favour, and pour upon me Thy 
grace, that I may daily profit by this holy exercise of prayer 
and application, ever through increased fervour acquire new 
graces, and by these be brought one day to Thy everlasting 
Kingdom. Through my dear Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. 


fHontfj, JKrst ffiBEttfc. Suntog. 

END OF MAN. False Judgments of Men Concerning it. 
[Same Subject. ] 

1. Reflect that there is comparatively less danger of our 
being led astray from the true end of our creation by those 
grosser purposes to which so many direct their lives, than by 
more subtle delusions. No one but an abandoned libertine 
would pretend to have convinced himself that the gratification 
of his appetites and passions was the great object of his being 
on earth. Many, indeed, act as though they had no other, yet 
they do not attempt to maintain it as a principle. But 
thousands imagine, and persuade themselves, that they are 
acting in accordance with the true purposes of their creation 
when they set before them as their end the treasuring up of 
learning, the cultivation of their own minds, the advancement 
of science, the governing or directing of others in public or 
private affairs, or by their writings, and many other such 
objects. No doubt these are things excellent in themselves, 
and worthy of serious attention ; but they fall far below the 
dignity of the end proposed to man in his creation. They may 
easily lead us away from attention to it : more easily, perhaps, 
than those deviations which bear a broader stamp of unworthi- 
ness. For if God made us, as He did, for some great end 
connected with Himself, in some way or other for Himself, 
surely these pursuits, however noble, cannot be that end. For 
in them all we primarily seek men, not God. Primarily, they 
aim at some benefit to ourselves, or to others. Though this 
may be laudable, and even obligatory, as a duty of charity or 
of our state, yet so long as they do not in any direct way bring 
us to God, they cannot be the end of our being. "Whatever 
this is, it must be completely raised above the instincts of this 
world, it must be as high above it as the heavens are above the 
earth. It must be such an end, as that, were I alone upon 
this earth, without a fellow-creature to instruct, to govern, or 

END OF MAN. 157 

to benefit in any way, without books or letters, or any other 
means of cultivating my own mind, I should still be bound as 
much as now, to aim at it, and do all in my power to attain it. 
It is a covenant between God and each individual soul, into 
which the interests of no third party can enter ; it is a bond of 
close union and service between Him and me, direct and per 
sonal ; with many consequences, indeed, that affect others, but 
no clauses. Moreover, all the advantage, that is, all the ser 
vice rendered, must be in His favour; whatever redounds to 
mine having ever to remain a gift of His bounty and mercy. 
It is the compact of creation, and we can certainly found no 
claim upon this. Again, this end must be sublime, inasmuch 
as it tends to God ; it must be in itself pure and holy. All 
those other purposes, for which many live, taken at their best, 
do, after all, tie the soul to earth, and have no being and 
no reference beyond it. They cannot, therefore, be the end of 

2. Reflect how seldom even these nobler objects of man s 
occupations engage him from pure and holy motives, or guide 
him to virtue. Both these conditions should seem absolutely 
necessary for any end proposed to us by God. It is generally 
ambition, or curiosity, or some other selfish motive, that leads 
men to dedicate their time and talents to any such pursuits. 
Or, if they lay claim to purer motives, such as philanthropy, 
love of truth, or the like, God at least is excluded from the 
primary intention. They, therefore, who live for such pur 
poses, however specious, are generally animated and directed 
by motives which God could never have appointed to rule 
man in the end which He gave him. And if their acts spring 
from imperfect and even impure motives, they are generally no 
less guided by them. Where is the man, who, making glory 
of the loftiest kind, or eminence in any department of human 
greatness his aim, and the directing impulse of his existence, is 
not so absorbed in the pursuit as to become forgetful of God, 
and tempted easily to employ less legitimate means to gain his 
purpose 1 And may we not say the same of any of those pur 
suits, which men, apparently virtuous, make no scruple to 
boast of as the great objects of their desires, and the aim of all 
their existence ? And if so, can they be the end of man ? Or 


ought not men to be ashamed at acknowledging themselves 
occupied habitually with such things 1 Let us, then, lay down 
as a settled principle, that whatever is the true end of our 
being, must be nobler far than all that earth or its most 
excellent gifts can propose to us. It must be something worthy 
of God. But besides this, it must be an end to which all men 
are equally called to aspire. It must not be attainable merely 
by the learned, or such as are gifted with superior abilities. As 
all men are fashioned by the same God, and are on a perfect 
equality before Him, so must they all have a common end, 
equally within the reach, as within the duty of all. 

3. Reflections. " If so, let me never be captivated by any 
of those pursuits, which, however laudable in themselves, and 
considered as means for good, fall so short of the immortal 
destiny for which God has formed me. I was not made that I 
might make myself a name upon this earth, nor that I might 
enlighten mankind by my researches or ingenious discoveries, 
nor yet simply that I might convert others, nor that I might 
bring them to heaven. Excellent as all these things may be, 
they are not my first or rather last great end, the eternal pur 
pose for which God decreed to give me life. No, my God, it 
was certainly for Thyself in some way, that Thou didst make 
me out of nothing, and didst place me upon this earth. Out 
of Thee I shall certainly find nothing to satisfy me, nothing to 
fill my heart, which will not rest, save in Thee. Draw it, then, 
away from creatures ; break their influence over me. May all 
created objects be banished from my heart, except only in 
Thee and for Thee : all, not only the meaner and less pure, 
but the greatest, the noblest, and the most excellent. Teach 
me to raise my soul above every transitory affection, and to 
repose ever and only in Thee." 


fHontfj, jfirst 4cdt. fflonliag. 

LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the Nearness and Manner of our 
Death. (Its Certainty.} 

1. Reflect how constantly men are deceived as to whether 
they shall die soon, or after a long interval. We are often 
ourselves in the habit of making a contrast between persons 
whose death has been announced, and others whose death we 
expected to hear of. One of these had been long languishing 
under some wearing disorder, which, humanly speaking, left 
no hope of his recovery ; the other we had seen a short time 
before, healthy and cheerful, promising himself many years of 
enjoyment. On a sudden we hear that the latter has been 
seized with some acute illness, which in a few days has carried 
him to his grave ; while the other has rallied, contrary to all 
expectation, and is in a fair way of recovery. " One shall be 
taken, and the other shall be left." Might not this case as 
easily have been mine as another s ? Might not as unexpected 
and as violent an illness have attacked me, and borne me away 
to an early grave 1 ? We are always subject to a thousand 
fatalities, against which no prudence can guard us. We bear 
within us causes enough of death, which break out from time 
to time in smaller ailments, but which some day may take a 
graver turn, and cut us off when least we dream of such a fate. 
We often expose ourselves to dangers which very little would 
render serious. A thousand casualties besides may befall us, 
fatal to us, as they have been to many. Death is ever at our 
side ; we are entangled in his snares, we are under the sweep 
of his scythe, and in one moment he may claim us as his law 
ful prey. How foolishly do men lose sight of this nearness of 
death, or wilfully shut their eyes to it ! No one ever fancies 
that the present year, much less the present month, less still 
the present week, will be his last. Yet it will prove so to 
some, perhaps to many, who are preparing for it as little as I 
do at present. Why may it not be so with me ? What assur 
ance have I to the contrary more than others 1 Who can 
secure me even for a day 1 Probably the week which will 
prove my last will find me as much satisfied even as I am now, 


that for that week at least there can be no danger. Thus it is 
that after the longest life, death takes us by surprise. It 
comes like a thief in the night, and rarely indeed finds us 
watching. And is this reasonable in us ] Is it worthy of a 
thinking creature 1 " Si sciret paterfamilias qua hora. fur 
venturus esset, vigilaret utique, et non sineret perfodi domum 
suam. Et vos estate parati, quia qua hora non putatis Filius 
hominis veniet." Think how carefully, as our Lord here im 
plies, we should be on our guard, if we knew that some time 
or other our house would be broken open ! But these words 
of warning seem to go further, and say that we in our uncer 
tainty should keep at all times as good a watch and ward as 
the good man would at that hour when he knew for certain 
the thief would come. How well prepared, indeed, should we 
then be against any surprise ! 

2. Reflect how ignorant we are, not only about the time, 
but about the manner of our death. It is astonishing that 
under such an uncertainty men should remain so indifferent. 
For if a culprit condemned to death, knowing that he might at 
any moment be called out of his cell to execution, yet was in 
total ignorance whether he was then to be beheaded at once, 
and so have but one pang of suffering, or else was to be broken 
on the wheel, or tortured on the rack, and cut piecemeal, this 
uncertainty would keep the thoughts of death constantly in- his 
mind, nor would any passing and momentary enjoyment chase 
it from his thoughts. So it should be with us. We live in 
dreadful uncertainty whether we shall be cut off in one mo- 
merit by some fatal accident, or whether we shall endure a 
lingering, painful illness, which will gnaw away our flesh, and 
consume us with exquisite torture. Surely the thought that 
such is possibly awaiting us ought to be a constant motive for 
remembering death, in spite of ourselves. But this is not the 
worst aspect of the uncertainty we are under concerning the 
manner of our death. Shall we then have any time for prepara 
tion ? Shall we have opportunity for it 1 Shall we be taken 
off while under the guilt of sin, and irrecoverably lost , for all 
eternity 1 Shall we be afflicted with a disorder which will 
early attack our senses, and deprive us of consciousness till the 
end 1 Shall we be so stupid and insensible as not to be aroused 


to the proper state for making a good preparation 1 Shall we 
die in a place where there will be the means of procuring 
spiritual assistance 1 May not some accident prevent its coming 
in time 1 ? What dreadful grounds of anxiety do not these 
reflections form, for one who believes in the importance of 
dying well, and the almost necessary assistance which the insti 
tutions of God, through and in His Church, afford for that 
purpose ! But then, how much more should they lead us to 
be in a state of constant preparation, watchfulness, and expec 
tation, so that even if surprised oy death under the most 
unforeseen circumstances, we may still be found ready ! 

3. Resolutions. " Yes, my God, when Thou gavest me this 
warning, that I might be taken by surprise, it was not to gain 
any advantage over me, nor that thereby I might run any 
greater risk, but that I might never forget Thee through life, 
under the foolish and mad idea, that still I might find Thee in 
the end. It was that Thou mightest be able to address me in 
those comfortable words, Well done, thou good and faithful 
servant/ It was that Thou mightest be justified in making 
me sit down at Thy table, and, girding Thyself, mightest 
minister unto me. What inducements, then, have I here to 
be ever on the watch, ever on the alert, not only at the first, 
nor even at the second, but also at the third watch of the 
night ; that is, when Thou seemest least likely to knock at^the 
door. I will then, with the assistance of Thy grace, be ever 
on my guard, and warning my fellow-servants to be so like 
wise. The thought of death, and of its speedy approach, shall 
be my alarm, my motive of vigilance. The hope of Thy 
approval, the sweetness of the words in which it will be 
spoken, the greatness and eternity of Thy rewards, shall form a 
constant spur to my obedience." 


fHontlj, jFirst V&ttk. f 
OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS GOD. Duly of Gratitude towards Him. 

1. Reflect how gratitude is a feeling, so natural and even 
necessary to man as scarcely to deserve the name of a virtue. 
He hardlv deserves to be accounted a man who refuses it to 
any one from whom he has received a benefit. We are even 
over lavish of our thanks and expressions of obligation to any 
one who does us a trifling favour. On the other hand, there 
have been instances of a gratitude so deep and so fervent, that 
the person under obligation has been ready to lay down his life 
for his benefactor. Our gratitude, in fact, to be reasonable, 
should be proportioned to our obligations. It is a return ; and 
therefore, in justice, should be at least an equivalent. Our 
gratitude to our parents becomes part of our dearest affections, 
and we can never consider a life of thankfulness and of active 
dutifulness a full return for their early, unwearied care of us. 
Nay, we even feel, and not altogether unjustly, gratitude 
towards them for having been the instruments employed by 
Divine goodness to bring us into the world. We may truly 
say that our gratitude towards them knows no bounds. In 
like manner, were even a stranger to save us from what 
appeared inevitable destruction, for instance, by drawing us 
out of deep water into which we had fallen, especially at the 
risk of his own life, we should owe him, and if right-minded 
should endeavour to pay him, a debt of gratitude great as the 
benefit conferred. If such be our feelings with regard to 
earthly benefactors, what ought they to be towards God, our 
earliest, our most persevering, our most disinterested, our most 
generous, and our only true and real Benefactor 1 From the 
very first moment of our . being, including that very first 
instant, till the present, we have been loaded with His benefits. 
Within and without, body and soul, we are but beings of His 
creation, and receptacles of His mercies. Every hour that we 
live is a blessing from His hand, every breath of air we breathe 
is a gift which, if He withheld it, not all the treasures of earth 
could purchase. We are, in fact, but standing monuments of 
His mercies and benefits ; we have nothing, we are nothing, but 


what He gives and has made us. Our gratitude, then, to 
keep any law of proportion, should be commensurate with our 
very being ; all that we possess, all we are, should be employed 
in displaying it. Moreover, whatever benefits or advantages 
we think bind us to gratitude towards others "are, in reality 
received from Himself. What have others to give which they 
have not first received from Him 1 What are our fellow-men, 
but mere channels through which His blessings pass 1 Then 
as to good things of a higher order, graces and other spiritual 
blessings, who can give them but God alone 1 They come 
directly and immediately from Him, without the interposition 
of man, or at least, by ministries which He has ordained. And 
yet, how true are those words of the Psalmist, " Midti dicunt 
quis ostendit nobis bona ? " They scarcely seem aware that it is 
God, and God alone, who can truly be said to give them. 

2. Reflect how the gratitude which should flow from this 
consciousness of our deep debt to God should be as unceasing 
as His kindness ; not a mere occasional expression of feeling, 
but a habit of mind, influencing all our actions. Everything 
that we are, ought to remind us of our obligations to God, and 
excite in us a feeling of grateful acknowledgment. We should 
consider ourselves as His, as devoted and given up to Him 
without reserve, as indeed we are. We commonly say, in 
speaking of worldly matters, that gratitude is worth very little 
if it consists only in professions. We require a return in acts 
from those whom we have benefited. If, then, we are really 
penetrated with a sense of our obligations to God, we shall 
study to exhibit it, through our endeavours to please Him. 
We cannot please Him except by the observance of His law, 
the fulfilment of all His commandments. This is, in fact, the 
only way to evidence a solid gratitude for His benefits. This 
sentiment, besides, should be one deeply seated in our hearts, 
and the source of many other virtuous feelings. It will lead 
us to an ardent love of our God, whom we shall ever consider 
as most generous and kind to us, and as possessing the strongest 
claim to our affections on the score of gratitude. It will lead 
us to a deep horror of sin, as an offence to our best Friend and 
Benefactor. It will lead us to a due value of all the advan 
tages we possess, spiritual and temporal, considered as gifts 

M 2 


received from His bounty. Constantly reminding us of His 
benefits, it will lead us to walk ever in His presence, and feast 
our souls upon the remembrance of His favours. 

3. Affections. " my God, sole fountain of all good 
things ! behold, I am Thy poor creature, the work of Thy 
hands, a memorial of Thy never-failing kindness and mercy. 
Thou hast formed me from the dust of the earth, Thou hast 
shaped me as the potter s clay, and thus made me a vessel of 
Thy graces, an object of Thy loving kindnesses. The meaner 
and more unworthy I am of myself, the more Thou hast de 
lighted in enriching me with favours, such as I never can hope 
to requite. No, my loving and gracious God ! it is a debt of 
ten thousand talents, which it were hopeless for me to think of 
repaying. I have but one poor coin to offer Thee, a grateful 
heart, small, and to Thee worthless ; but an offering sincere, 
devoted, and unreserved. So long as it beats, it shall beat 
with gratitude to Thee. So long as the warmth of life remains 
in it, it shall glow with a thankful love of Thee, who hast given 
it life and feeling. So long as Thou dost still pour Thy bless 
ings on me, that is, to the end of my life, I will persevere in 
my earnest desire to make to Thee my best, however miserable, 
return. Accept it, dear Lord ; make this another benefit for 
which I may have a new title to be grateful ; that so I may 
strive in loving contest with Thee, as Jacob did, nor let Thee 
go, till Thou hast blessed me, when Thy morning shall have 

fHontfj, .first SHieeft. 


Preparation. Imagine to yourself these few simple men, 
lying around their watchfire, and on a sudden surprised by the 
glorious apparition of angels in the heavens. 

1. Reflect what must have been the astonishment of these 
poor men, when, amidst the bleak darkness of a winter s night, 
they saw the heavens open, and an angel appear to address 


them. Perhaps they have been discoursing together of the 
hardships of their condition ; contrasting their poverty and 
discomfort with the luxury in which their masters or the rich 
inhabitants of Bethlehem were reposing. The angel announces 
to them the birth, that night, of " a Saviour, who is Christ the 
Lord, in the city of David." He tells them that these will be 
tidings of great joy to all the people. But alas ! of what avail 
is it to announce such news to them ? How could they pre 
sume to approach the cradle of the new-born King? How 
could they pretend to find a place in the crowd of courtiers and 
officers that would surround and guard it ? If such thoughts 
as these came into their minds when the angel s first words 
reached them, how quickly they would be removed by those 
that followed, giving them a sign whereby to discover this infant 
Sovereign. " Ye shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling 
clothes, and laid in a manger." Is this all 1 Can an angel 
give no better marks for distinguishing the greatest of beings 
who ever came into the world, than by describing Him as 
placed in a meaner situation than any other child, perhaps, 
that ever was born? Was there not even danger that the 
faith of these men would have given way before the announce 
ment of a circumstance so humiliating 1 However, the truth 
of God knows no disguises, and no care is taken to conceal the 
humility of Bethlehem from one who might live to witness the 
abasement of Calvary. And accordingly they left their flocks, 
and proceeded to Bethlehem, where "they found Mary and 
Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger." Imagine now 
the tenderness of their devotion upon this verification of the 
angel s announcement. Think how lovingly they would adore 
this clear babe, and were repaid for their love by the sweetest 
of smiles ! They would now only regret their poverty, as not 
enabling them to afford to this blessed family any relief in its 
need. How did their thoughts dwell on what they had seen, 
all the next day, and the next, and many days after ! How 
little afterwards did they complain to one another of their 
mean estate, for themselves, or their children ! How did they 
return, from time to time, during the stay of that blessed 
family in their neighbourhood, to visit it again, and bring to it 
some little present out of their hard earnings, or from the fruit 


of tlieir flocks, like Abel s sacrifice ! They were the Abels of 
the new Law, while Herod and his people were the Cains. 
What alarm for them was Herod s massacre of the innocents ! 
Yet how consoled, amid their natural grief, if any of their little 
ones perished in it, on knowing that He had thereby escaped ! 
Oh, who would not gladly have been a shepherd in the neigh 
bourhood of Bethlehem at that time, for the chance of being 
one of these happy men ] 

2. Reflect upon the second part of the glorious apparition 
which these shepherds were found worthy to witness, when a 
multitude of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, 
praising God, and saying, " Glory to God in the highest, and 
on earth peace to men of good will." These are words that 
interest ourselves as much as them. These were the two great 
blessings which this infant Saviour brought with Him into the 
world. By His birth He gave a glory to His eternal Father, 
beyond all that the united homage of all mankind, of the most 
just and most favoured of His saints, even far beyond all that 
the combined praises of the heavenly spirits from their creation 
had been able to render to Him. What glory was given in 
the very act of His assuming human nature for the expiation 
of sin, and repairing the honour of God. What glory by His 
resignation to the divine Will, and by those simple words, 
" Ecce, venio" Every sound of His infant voice is a sweeter 
music to heaven than the united choirs of the angelic hierarchy. 
Every breath of His divine lips is a louder song of praise than 
the thundering of the spheres wheeling in their appointed 
courses. His very presence exalts and dignifies earth almost 
to a level with the heavens. Besides this actual and direct 
glory which the " Infant lying in the manger " gave to God, 
what new and pleasing tributes of honour and praise was He 
not about to provide, through the number of followers He 
would procure, worshippers of the true God, imitators of Him 
self in His perfections, and future saints to fill up the thrones 
left empty by the rebel angels. In the second place, what peace 
He brought to men of good will. An earthly peace, by the 
new principles of justice which He came to establish between 
communities of men ; a social and domestic peace, by the system 
of charity, meekness, and fraternal love, which was to be the 


essence of His morality ; an interior peace, by the power of 
grace which His religion would communicate to the soul for 
the subduing of all the passions ; a divine peace, or a peace 
with God, by the reconciliation He would purchase for man ; 
and an eternal peace in heaven, which He should regain for 
them by His sacrifice. What a manifold peace, then, was the 
peace which that blessed Infant brought into the world ! 

3. Affections. " O most bountiful Jesus, how soon dost 
Thou begin to show Thy predilections here below ! Thou 
takest care to choose for the first called, the poor shepherds 
who sleep in their rude tents, or under the heavens, and who 
cannot take Thee under the shelter of any better roof. Almost 
any one else from that neighbourhood would have been bound, 
both in duty and in love, to insist upon Thy parents going 
with him to his home. Yet such were not called ; but rather 
they, who, poor as Thyself, could afford Thee no relief. No, 
Thou wert determined that nothing should diminish or miti 
gate Thy sufferings. Thou didst endure them at Thy birth, 
because they were to be endured for my sake. Blessed be 
Thou for all eternity, for such love ! Oh, make me poor and 
lowly of spirit like Thy chosen shepherds ; that I may be 
admitted into their company round Thy crib, that I may be 
allowed with them to present Thee my poor homage, and to 
partake in the announcement of Thy angels, by finding true 
peace here below, as a forerunner of Thy eternal peace here 
after. And in the mean time let me with them give glory, 
virtue, power, and honour to God in the highest, and to Thee, 
His consubstantial Son." 

fHontfj, jFtrst HUtfc~* 

1. Reflect what hope is : a firm trust and confidence in God 
that in consequence of His promises, He will grant us here on 
earth, all the means necessary for serving Him and fulfilling 
His commandments, and hereafter, as the reward of our 
fidelity, everlasting life. Thus we have the end and the means 


at once secured to us, so far as God s part goes. When we 
have something very important in view, in which another s 
will is concerned, it is of the greatest interest to us to have a 
solemn promise from him. And if he be a man of veracity 
with whom we have to deal, one who has never been known to 
go back from his word, we feel quite at ease if he has given it. 
We say, " Well, I am sure of one most important point : it will 
be my own fault if I neglect what depends on myself." Here 
then, in the great affair of salvation, we are assured that God 
will accomplish all that depends upon Himself. And of His 
keeping His promise we cannot doubt. For it would be hor 
rible blasphemy even to entertain a suspicion either of His 
veracity in making it, or of His power to keep it. What a 
security, then, we have here for the most important of all our 
undertakings ! Reflect, therefore, upon the motives of our 
hopes. First, the power of God. It is infinite ; it created the 
world out of nothing, and saved it by a redemption of incom 
prehensible magnificence j can He fail when He engages to 
save such an insignificant creature as I am ? Secondly, the 
goodness of God. Have I not had daily proofs of this in 
myself, more than sufficient to secure me against the smallest 
doubt upon that score 1 With these two foundations of hope, 
it cannot for a moment stagger or waver, it must be firm and 
constant. Were the assurance of hope no more than a pro 
mise of a heavenly reward on our deserving it, but were we 
left at the same time to our puny efforts to merit it, this would 
indeed be but a poor consolation. But our good God knows 
too well our frame, He remembers too well that we are dust, 
to have left us so unprovided with the means, when the end is 
so far beyond our own reach. His promises, therefore, go much 
further than we could have had a right to expect. For we 
have them pledged actually to do the greatest part of our work 
for us, by co-operating with us. 

2. .Reflect how justly hope is called and reckoned a divine 
or theological virtue , that is, a virtue directly aiming at God 
as its object. For, as we have seen, it springs from Himself; 
its grounds are no other than His own solemn and pledged 
assurances, His truthfulness, His mercy and power. He, there 
fore, is its root and groundwork, without which it would not 


even exist. Moreover, this virtue of hope tends upwards 
directly to Him. For what is heaven but the enjoyment of 
God, and being always in His company ? Hence this virtue 
may be considered from two points of view j as a grounded 
confidence, compared by St. Paul to an anchor, deeply fastened 
in the security of God s promises ; and as an aspiration towards 
Him, such as ancient art represented it, as a soul springing up 
from earth, stretching its hands towards a crown placed above. 
Thus considered, it is not a mere passive or calm security, but 
a lively and active elevation of the soul, a positive aiming of 
the will and the desires at the future reward, a tendency of its 
flame to rise towards the sphere of its own element. It forms, 
with love, the wings of the soul, which elevate it at all times 
above earthly joys and wishes, and bear it to the throne or 
rather to the bosom of God. So akin to love is it, that, as in 
heaven it will melt, and be transformed into all-absorbing 
charity, so even here below it runs into it by imperceptible 
degrees, till we hope because we love, and love the more 
because we hope. Consider further, what a mercy it is on the 
part of God to have allowed such a virtue to remain among us 
after the loss of our heavenly paradise. What would earth 
have been without hope ; in what would it have differed from 
Hell ? In its actual torments, perhaps, but not in what con 
stitutes its true horror, the loss of God without hope of re 
covering Him. How dark and dismal would the hour of 
sorrow and affliction have proved, without the bright and 
cheering beam from heaven which hope brings down upon us, 
in the assurance of our eternal weight of glory ! How insup 
portable would separation by death from our dear ones appear, 
if there were no prospect of meeting them again ! How mi 
serable would earth be, how joyless, wearisome, disappointing, 
were not the veil which hides another world from our view 
lifted by hope ; and a glimpse given us of our true country, the 
home that awaits us, in which every tear shall be dried, and no 
sorrow have place ! O blessed virtue, be thou my conductor 
and companion through life, and my comforter in the hour of 

3. Affections. " Yes, thou art the handmaid of God on this 
side of the grave, His messenger, His angel to guide us through 


this dreary wilderness. Be thou a lamp to my feet, and a light to 
my path, that in thy guidance I may walk cheerfully, despising 
all the trials of earth, passing by its allurements without a 
glance, looking onward, looking to God alone. Conduct me to 
the last moments of my life, and when thou leavest me then in 
the hands of thy sister Charity, let me be able to thank thee 
for thy past and cheering support. And Thou, my God ! 
increase in me this heavenly virtue ; nourish it in me by a 
constant meditation upon Thy goodness towards me, as the 
strongest possible ground to put my trust in Thee. I have, 
indeed, forfeited all claims to it, I have done more than enough 
to quench all hope in my bosom* oppressed, as it is, by a heavy 
weight of sin. But even against hope/ I will believe in hope. 
Unworthy as I am, great as is the number of my sins, they do 
not, cannot suffice, to make me despair. I will cling to Thy 
cross in the hour of despondency, amid the threats of vengeance 
uttered against me by my sins. I will lay hold on that cross, 
as on the horns of the altar, and nothing shall tear me thence. 
I will trust in Thee, my God, my Saviour, and so I shall never 
be confounded." 

fHontfjf, JKtst lrefe. JFrfoag. 
THE PASSION. OLIVET. Our Saviours Fears. (His Anguish.) 

Preparation. As in the previous meditations, imagine Jesus 
in the garden. 

1. Reflect well upon those words of the Gospel, " Ccepitpavere 
et tcedere, et mcestus esse" The anguish of our blessed Saviour 
was in no small measure made up of fear. Of what could He 
be afraid, He who was omnipotent, the "Word of the Father, 
by whom all things were made 1 Yet true it is that He 
feared, and that vehemently, the torments and death which 
then hung over Him. He had, it is true, not only determined 
to endure them, but He had chosen them, and voluntarily 
taken them upon Himself for our redemption. He had kept 
them before His eyes, without intermission, during the thirty- 
three years of His life, as the very object of His existence in 


His humanity. But now that the time for enduring them 
drew nigh, He far a while, if so we may speak, allowed the 
feebleness of His human nature to prevail over the power of 
His divine nature, and (in a sense) balance that resolute deter 
mination with which He had till now looked forward to the 
dajr of trial. And as the ordinary weaknesses of the flesh, 
which lead to sin, could not assail Him, He permits its shrink 
ing dread of pain to afflict Him with a terrible trial. Grounds 
indeed, there were in abundance for such shrinking. For now 
the various torments which He was separately to suffer on the 
following day were presented to Him all together, so that He 
could sum them up and speak of them as the ingredients of one 
chalice, presented to Him by His heavenly Father to be drunk 
off at a draught. We all know from experience that the pro 
spect of some pain to be endured is often a severer torture than 
the pain itself. But here was more than a vague conception 
and imagination of what was almost immediately to be endured ; 
more than a clear, vivid, and perfect human anticipation of it, 
making the suffering in mind equal to what the reality would 
prove. It was with the light of God, and the perfect know 
ledge of His eternal wisdom, that this dismal and harrowing 
prospect was viewed. No wonder, then, that the terror pro 
duced by this sight should have been so extreme. 

2. Reflect how it was not so much the bodily sufferings He 
was about to undergo that shook with such terror the Heart of 
the Son of Man, but far more the cause for which He was 
about to suffer them. It was the burden of our sins which He 
chiefly dreaded. He was to assume the character of represen 
tative, in its entire fulness, of our fallen race, whose flesh and 
sinless infirmities He had already taken. His abhorrence of 
sin, as an offence against His Father, and consequently against 
Himself, was a detestation far beyond what it is in our power 
to imagine. He could not have taken on Himself our nature, 
if the step had involved the condition of sinfulness, even that 
of the smallest conceivable venial offence against the divine 
law. Yet now He is to be overpowered with the accumulated 
transgressions of the entire race, from the sin of Adam to the 
treachery of Judas, yea, to the sacrilege of His own execu 
tioners. Can we, then, wonder at His shrinking in horror 


and dread from the idea of thus laying upon Himself, with His 
own hands, so fearful a load ? It is not a fear of being immo 
lated, as the lamb to take away sin, that oppresses His Heart \ 
but a dread of being sent forth as the emissary goat with the 
frightful crimes of all the world upon His Head. But this is 
not all. As the bearer of this load, He necessarily becomes fin 
object of the wrath of His |own Eternal and dear beloved 
Father ! He, the dutiful, the most loving of sons, who had 
but one Will with the Father, who, throughout His mortal 
life, had been the perfect pattern of all obedience and docility, 
He who actually, at that moment, was going to suffer that He 
might give the first example of an obedience even unto death, 
is under the wrath, to say no more, of that tenderest of Fathers! 
Oh, what abundant cause of fear ! Who can wonder that He 
dreaded so dark a state, and recoiled before such a change 1 
But to those great leading motives of fear to advance further in 
His work, we may add others great in themselves, though 
smaller by comparison. He finds Himself alone, to struggle 
against the machinations of conspired enemies, against the 
cruelties of enraged multitudes, single-handed, without a friend 
to console Him, or to sympathize with His numerous dis 
tresses. He looks on His right hand and on His left, and 
there is no one to comfort Him. It would appear as though 
Divine Providence had from this stage of His passion until 
Calvary itself, excluded His blessed mother, and the pious 
women, who would have given Him some comfort, that so His 
abandonment might be the more complete. 

3. Affections. Endeavour in spirit to supply the place of 
these His dear friends, by sympathizing with your afflicted 
Saviour j and say, " My blessed and dear Saviour, what an 
excess of love is this in Thee, to stoop even to this lowest abyss 
of fear for my redemption ; that nothing might seem too bitter, 
nothing too lowly for Thy love of me to undergo. When the 
terrors of death shall compass me, let me think of Thy sinless 
fears, and be comforted. Let me not be thrown into despair at 
the prospect of its sufferings, when I think how Thy divine 
self, to encourage Thy poor servants, wert pleased to share their 
fears, and give them an example of bearing them. Let me in 
that hour call upon Thee, who didst tremble in the Garden of 


Olives, and let me find succour. And even now, let this espe 
cial suffering of Thine be a comfort to my heart, amidst the 
fears and anxieties of my inward life, in the terrors of tempta 
tion, in the fear of the world s censures, and in every other 
species of fear that can oppress me. Let us, then, dear Lord, 
sympathize together. Behold, many fears shake me in my 
daily thoughts, especially when I reflect on my manifold 
offences. Let us, then, put our respective fears together, and 
Thine shall prove a balm and a comfort to mine. Mine are 
felt for sins that require cure : Thine were felt as a remedy of 
sin. Let Thine heal mine, and let me ever find comfort and 
refreshment in the merciful sufferings of that dread hour of Thy 
mortal life." 

JHontfj, .first 2Uccft. Saturtiag. 

ON SIN AND REPENTANCE. On the Ingratitude of Sin. 
(Its Enormity.) 

1. Reflect how much it aggravates the enormity of sin that 
it is committed against God, our great and sovereign benefactor. 
Suppose sin stripped of this circumstance ; it is, indeed, a foul 
act of rebellion against our sovereign lord and master ; it still 
remains in many ways grievous, but yet, in some sort, free 
from that disgraceful enormity with which our obligations 
towards God invest it. God made me, God has preserved me, 
God has nourished me from infancy, He has watched over me 
with the tenderness of a father ; He has bound me to Himself 
by as many ties as I have drawn breaths since I came into 
being. I do not, therefore, offend merely as a subject against 
his king, when he transgresses the law. but as a child that flies 
in the face of a most loving parent, who has toiled for years to 
make that child happy. But what a small portion of my obli 
gations to God is all this. He has purchased me, He has ran 
somed me, as a man might ransom a slave, at a price ; and that 
price no less a one than Himself, by substituting Himself in 
his place, by putting on Himself his chain, his ignominious 
gaol-dress, and by undergoing all the sufferings of his imprison- 


ment. If a man, nay, if a prince, were to do this to a slave 
just condemned for his crimes, and those involving treasons to 
that prince s father ; and if that wretch instantly turned upon 
him, buffeted him, insulted him, trampled under foot the 
precious robes which that benefactor gave him in exchange for 
his filthy prison-suit, what name would be black enough 
whereby to express your execration of conduct so detestable ! 
Now what else have I done, when I have offended my God, 
and my dear Saviour, Jesus Christ 1 ? What comparison is 
there between Him and the greatest monarch s son on earth ? 
What comparison between the condition of the slave in the 
galleys, and of one sentenced to eternal separation from God ? 
Yet when I sin, I insult Him thus foully, thus detestably ! 
Nay, more : not satisfied with clothing Himself in my flesh, 
He has died for my redemption. And I, senseless, worthless 
creature, trampled under foot the stream of Blood which He 
poured forth so lavishly for this redemption ! Can base, black 
ingratitude go beyond this 1 Is not this far the worst feature 
of sin ] Is it not at least the most odious of its characters ? 
Yet these are motives of aggravation common to all sinners ; 
let me look closer home. What particular claims has He not 
upon my gratitude and love, from the innumerable mercies and 
assistances of which I am conscious ? Has He not called me 
to a higher, a holier, a more meritorious state than the great 
body even of His faithful ones ? Does He not allow me daily 
access to Himself in His adorable sacrament 1 Has He not 
chosen me to be one of a few, His minister to communicate 
His blessings to . His children ? And do I not owe Him an 
additional debt of gratitude 1 And is not sin a far more grievous 
and odious ingratitude in one of His priests than it would be 
in any other of the faithful 1 

2. Reflect that this ingratitude is yet further aggravated by 
the consideration that we actually use, for the purpose of 
sinning, the very gifts bestowed upon us by Him whom we 
offend. Our body, and all its organs and senses, are His, 
given us- by His bounty for no other purpose than to be em 
ployed in His service. Our hands, our eyes, our ears, our 
tongues, are most wonderful contrivances of His wisdom, most 
valuable presents of His bounty ; yet they are the very imple- 


merits of our iniquities, and the more perfect they are the more 
easily and willingly we employ them in transgression. If He 
has given us a perfect body and comely person, it so much the 
more easily becomes a motive of pride and vanity. If our 
tongue be gifted with great power of speech, it is rare if it 
offend not by speaking "great things," or by sarcasm and elo 
quent uncharitableness. If our eyes be quick and powerful, 
they lead us the more commonly into danger, and take in 
objects to disturb our thoughts. And what shall we say of the 
powers of our souls 1 Do they not, in like manner, assist us 
the more to sin, the more excellent they are, and the greater 
the benefit they have been on God s part? If the imagination 
be lively, what more likely to engage it than vain, foolish, and 
wicked thoughts 1 If our reason be keen and argumentative, 
does it not indulge the more in captious arguments and objec 
tions, and ensnare itself in its own toils ? Does not our memory, 
by its very excellence, serve to represent, inamore lively 
manner, those images and recollections which should have been 
soonest forgotten 1 And is not all this a black, traitorous 
ingratitude, thus to turn against our sovereign good the very 
implements with which He has gifted us, for His service ? 
Shame on us who have been guilty of such thankless and 
irrational behaviour ! 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " How comes it, O my God ! 
that a crime which we consider so detestable when committed 
against men, should be committed by us every day against 
Thee, yet hardly ever thought of; nay, that it should be a cir 
cumstance of every one of my daily transgressions, and yet I 
should feel so little remorse or shame 1 I have been, indeed, 
an unfeeling wretch, worthy long since to have been abandoned 
by Thee. My very breath is Thy gift, and Thou couldst 
withhold it from me at any moment \ yet, in spite of my 
repeated provocation, Thou hast continued Thy \minterrupted 
course of blessing, while I have persevered in ungratefully 
offending Thee. Oh, pardon, my dear Lord, pardon this my 
past undutifulness. Forgive the thoughtlessness which till now 
has blinded me ! Henceforth, at least, may my eyes be opened 
to all Thy mercies, and my thoughts ever ready to measure by 
these the enormity of sin a.gainst so good, so generous, so loving 


a Friend and Benefactor. And let me particularly consider my 
obligations to Thee from the frequency of Thy repeated for 
giveness, remembering that he to whom more hath been 
forgiven loveth the more, and has a heavier debt against him, 
if he continue to offend." 

fHontfj, ^rcontr S2Hrrft, Sitntog. 

the Saints. (Admiration of them.) 

1. Reflect how useful to our souls devotion to the Saints 
must be. For it takes up our thoughts from earth to heaven, 
and makes us find our delight in the company of those who 
see God, and love Him best, " Conversatio nostra" says the 
apostle, " in ccelis est." That is our true country, and thither 
our souls and hearts ought to carry us as often as possible. 
Now these are so feeble, so imperfect, and the immense splen 
dour of God s majesty so great, and the boundless infinity of 
His attributes so incomprehensible, that we are quickly dazzled 
and perplexed, if we have not some intermediate degrees of 
glory, and some lower contemplation of excellence to serve us 
as steps whereby to climb to the view of His ineffable perfec 
tion. One spring from earth to heaven is too great an effort, 
if it have to reach the throne of God in the uncreated empyrean 
glory. It is good, then, for us to pause first upon the lower 
degree of magnificence and honour which the Saints of God 
enjoy, so to accustom our minds to the meditation of that 
glorious place. And this is done far better by devotion to 
them than by any abstract thought, for by it we come to feel 
ourselves in their company. We speak to them rather than 
look on them ; we measure the greatness of their glory. When 
we, and even the most excellent and virtuous on earth are on 
our knees before them, as they sit on their golden thrones, we 
feel the immense distance between them and us, who toil here 
below, while they are the courtiers and counsellors of the King 
of kings. And, what is more than all, we thus keep up that 
communion between the several parts of Christ s kingdom, 


between His glorious and His militant church. All this must 
surely he of immense benefit to our souls ; but nothing com 
pared with that bestowed on us by the effects of their inter, 
cession. When we draw near to God, we do so with hands 
defiled with sin, and tongues covered with ulcerous sores, with 
hearts filled, if not with malice and deceit, yet with incon 
stancy, vanity, and imperfection. True, His merciful goodness 
overlooks all this in us. But still, a sense of our unworthiness 
should make us both willing and glad to take along with us 
intercessors, whose pure and perfect state, whose friendship and 
favour with Himself, must make the sounds of their voices 
music in the ear of God, whose ornaments in heaven are the 
golden crowns that they lay down at His feet when they pros 
trate before Him to intercede for us, and to whom are given 
golden phials, filled with precious odours, to be offered as the 
incense of prayer before Him. We must needs feel a greater 
fervour and confidence in prayer thus powerfully aided and 
supported. Now devotion to the saints is based upon such 
humble acknowledgment of our own unworthiness to appear 
alone before God, and such a confidence that He who com 
manded the friends of Job to seek His intercession, and who 
so often spared His people at the prayer of Moses, and showed 
mercy to wicked kings for David their father s sake, and to an 
undeserving nation on account of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
will hear us where such servants as His own ever blessed 
Mother, and Peter, and John, and the rest of His favoured 
friends, interpose between our unworthiness and IJis rigorous 
justice, and ask with and for us what is needful for our 

2. Reflect how agreeable it must be to God to witness this 
interchange of good offices between His children upon earth 
and those who reign with Him in heaven. He has destined us, 
as we humbly hope, to be one day their happy companions and 
friends in the joys of His kingdom ; and He is well pleased to 
see us, during our time of preparation, on terms of friendly 
and brotherly intercourse with them. He is glad to see us find 
pleasure in conversing with them, and paying them that 
honour which their dignity merits. King Assuerus com 
manded that the person whom the king desired to honour 


should be presented to the public homage of the entire city, and 
led about with a state little inferior to his own. So, having 
Himself honoured His saints, Almighty God wills them like 
wise to be honoured by His servants on earth openly and mag 
nificently. He knows, moreover, that in this case the honour 
flows on to Himself. Eor what do we bless and praise in the 
saints, and what causes us to feel devotion towards them, but 
the splendid gifts and prerogatives wherewith God hath 
crowned them, and which, after all, are only the fruits of His 
graces and mercies 1 " Deus in nobis sua dona, coronat." 
When we call upon His apostles to intercede for us, why do 
we so, but because it pleased Him to choose them from among 
men to be the instruments of His extraordinary favours and 
blessings 1 And do we not honour His choice, and give glory 
to Him, when in consequence of this His partiality to them, 
we offer up to them extraordinary homage, and address them 
with peculiar fervour 1 If our devotion is particularly excited 
towards the martyrs, it is because we admire their constancy in 
the midst of torments endured for God, and therein the power 
of grace which triumphed over the weakness of nature. So is 
it when our feelings of reverence and devout affection are 
moved to address the virgins whose chastity made them the 
spouses of the Lamb. So far from resenting such feelings, He 
must be pleased with the confidence we place in His Saints, as 
resulting from our belief in the love He bears them, and the 
readiness with which He rewards His servants. 

3. Affections. " How good and gracious art Thou to us, my 
God, to have taken so much care of our weakness as to provide 
us with so many friends and patrons, who day and night make 
intercession for us unworthy sinners. Oh ! let my thoughts 
often rise from earth into their blessed company, and converse 
in devout prayer with Thy favourites and friends. I know 
that they love me j I know that they think of me ; and I, in 
my turn, will ever strive the more to love and to think of 
them. I will often dwell upon the glorious display of mercy 
and bounty which Thou hast made in them ; I will often con 
gratulate them on their dignity and elevation ; but still more 
I will entreat them never to forget me, but ever to importune 
Thee, my God and theirs, that Thou wilt one day bring me to 


their happy society before Thy face. And ye, glorious 
citizens of heaven, secure of your crowns which you have so 
well earned, look down upon me in brotherly compassion. 
Behold me still fettered by the flesh, and engaged in mortal 
strife with your former enemies. I am not jealous of your 
glories, but I earnestly long to share them. I wish to be a 
companion of your bliss, as I am now your servant and humble 
worshipper. Let me find comfort in your friendly aid, and in 
my humble intercourse with you ; that I may one day thank 
you in heaven for your kindness towards me here below." 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Resurrection of the Dead. 

1. Reflect what a spectacle it will be, when the vision of 
Ezechiel shall be realized ; when dry bones, yea, the dust which 
once composed them, shall hear the word of God ; when the 
archangel s trumpet shall shake the earth, and open its graves, 
and bid the dead arise to judgment. Then shall the earth give 
up its dead, and the sea shall give up its dead, and all the 
tribes of mankind shall be assembled together once more in the 
body. It shall not be as the prophet saw it, one plain which 
the eye could measure ; it shall not be the assembled dead of 
the house of Israel alone, but the entire human race, as many 
as have lived since Adam to the latest inhabitants of earth. 
Here at length is no distinction of rank, or of human families. 
The most savage and the most civilized, the swarthy son of the 
south, and the pale northern, shall mingle confusedly ; the 
extremes of earth, east and west, shall meet. The conqueror 
is not to be known by his wreath, nor the emperor by his 
crown, nor the philosopher by his cloak, nor the poet by his 
lyre. Even into the grave, distinctions of worldly degrees had 
accompanied man. The great had been laid separate in their 
rich coffins and marble tombs, the poor had been thrown to 
moulder in heaps. But/romthe tomb these distinctions issue 
not forth ; they remain with the shroud. Throughout these count 
less millions, indeed, two distinct classes may be recognised, 


never more to be confounded together. Some, and they are 
the few, are bright and beautiful. Their countenance beams 
with a surpassing comeliness, that tells of heaven : their 
features wear a smile of joy, and their eyes are radiant with 
gladness and bliss. It is manifest at once that their resurrec 
tion is for heaven ; that they are secure of a happy issue at the 
coming trial. But the others ! Oh, what a spectacle, what a 
loathsome sight ! Haggard, and horrible, and deformed ! 
Every past vice and excess has furrowed its memorial into their 
brow ; every sin has left its stamp upon them ; every passion 
claims its hold upon their features. A premature age bows 
down the younger ; a frightful decrepitude makes loathsome 
the aged. Everything about their hideous carcases speaks of 
hell. And, as in the others, the soul which has been long 
enjoying heaven looks through the body, and communicates to 
it a life worthy of itself, so to these the body is but another 
prison, another hell, in which the torments already tasted are 
continued. Such will be the servants, and such the enemies 
of God, at that awful day ! 

2. Reflect that we shall not be merely spectators in this 
scene, but shall have our part like the rest. I shall make one 
of this vast multitude, waiting the summons of my Judge. 
Whatever may have been my lot, it will be a moment of 
anxious expectation. If my happiness shall be secure, still 
how can I fail to suffer some pain when the reunion with my 
body shall bring back the recollection of my sins in which it 
had so great a share 1 But oh ! what a delight it will be to 
remember any acts of penance or mortification which I may 
have made it suffer, when we were before in company. How 
will the bones which before were humbled now rejoice. How 
will the flesh thank, as it were, the spirit which tamed it, and 
kept it in subjection, now that, by that wholesome severity, it 
has brought it to such glory ! What a number of recollections 
will seem to be revived, by the restoration of perfect conscious 
ness, by the sense of personal identity, which will be intensified 
by that re-union ! But what a frightful meeting, what wel 
comes of curses, will take place when a damned soul re-enters 
into the now detested flesh, which once it pampered and gra 
tified in every desire ! The past sufferings of hell will seem 


almost endurable compared with the future to be suffered in 
such company. To be confined in such a dungeon, and that 
for ever ; to be chained to such a yoke-fellow, to be inseparably 
united to such a speaking reproach, a never-dying aggravation 
of every torture, must surely appear a fate beyond endurance. 
It will resolve itself into a feeling and state of self-hatred, 
which will make a hell within each individual. Good God ! 
may it never be mine to experience a resurrection like this ! 
Let me never learn by my own experience what are the feelings 
of the reprobate on such a meeting ! 

3. Affections and Resolutions. Let me learn two great 
lessons from these thoughts. First, to understand the sacred- 
ness of that body, which, earthly and material as it is, is yet 
destined for heaven, and will one day be able to attain to it. 
What respect does it not deserve 1 and how can that respect be 
better shown than by keeping at a distance from it whatever 
can sully or profane it ] Every excess profanes it, and forms 
a blot which I shall mourn in that day. Secondly, to resolve 
to bring the body, while yet below, as near as I can to the 
spiritual character it is one day destined to possess, by ren 
dering it superior, as much as possible, to all the appetites of 
the flesh, even when they do not lead to sin. I will bring it 
into subjection to the spirit, and place it out of the dominion 
of the senses. "Do Thou, my God, my strength, and only 
support, assist me in this undertaking, that I may have a share 
in Thy Sons resurrection, not in that of the wicked. May 1 
rise like Him, glorious and resplendent, and fearless of His 
reproach. Let me, to this end, now rise from sin, and from all 
the imperfections which weigh down my soul to earth ; that so 
I may in that Day be the better fitted for a resurrection to 
glory. Yes, / shall rise again ; * ipse et non alius, et in carne 
med vldebo Deuni Salvatorem meum. These very eyes of 
flesh shall see the beauty of Thy countenance, and shall meet 
Thee face to face. Make me worthy of such a vision, the pre 
lude to a blessed eternity with Thee." 


IjtrU fHontlj, Second S22ccft. tCucstojr. 

VIRTUES THAT REGARD OTHERS. On the Measure of Charity. 

1. Reflect how our blessed Saviour has been pleased to give 
us two most excellent standards, whereby to measure our 
charity towards our neighbours, so that we may have no 
excuse for not exercising so necessary a virtue. He has 
therein acted according to His own Divine wisdom ; for the 
one presents the measure below which we must never fall, the 
other the degree towards which we must always be aspiring. 
The first, therefore, is given in the precept of the Old Law, 
which was ratified in the New : "Thou shalt love thy neigh 
bour as thyself." This may be taken in two senses, the one 
prohibitory, the other injunctive. The first is the lowest 
measure of charity, that which even the heathen moralists 
enjoined, when they said : " Quod tibi non vis fieri alteri ne 
facias." It makes what we wish to have done to ourselves 
the standard of what we do to others ; we must commit no 
offence against them, we must do nothing to them, which, if 
done to ourselves, we should repute an injury or offence. To 
this point it is not so difficult for us to reach. But the Christian 
rule requires much more. It requires us positively to love our 
neighbours ; that is, to feel and to exercise towards them a 
duty of actual affection, equal to what we feel and exercise 
towards ourselves. Now, how tender we are in our feelings 
towards ourselves ! How completely we overlook our defects, 
with what delight do we dwell upon all those little points 
which we consider as our excellences ! How do we resent any 
thing said or done by others which tends to depress us in 
general estimation ! This is not a mere avoiding of offence j it 
is a positive complacency in our own good. Alas, how far am 
I from such conduct and feelings towards others ! How much 
petty jealousy, how much envy of others advantages, how 
great a tendency to depreciate their good qualities, and to 
exaggerate their failings, though probably much smaller than 
my own ! Again, how earnest and how constant is our desire 
to serve ourselves in every way, to consult our comforts, our 


interests, our smallest advantages ! How alive are we to every 
opportunity of advancing any of these, and how we seem to 
imagine that others ought to take their part in forwarding 
them for us ! But when we have to think about others, how 
very differently is it with us ? How cold, how apathetic, how 
greatly limited to words is our participation in their interests ! 
How little energy do we show in advancing them ; how very 
little share do we take in their feelings ! And interiorly, how 
little do we feel of that true sentiment towards them which we 
know to be love ; how different are our dispositions from those 
we entertain for even such irrational creatures as we choose to 
love ! 

2. Reflect how much nobler and more perfect a standard of 
love Jesus Christ gave us in the New Law, as its peculiar 
measure. <c Mandatum novum do vobis, ut diligatis invicem 
sicut dilexi vos" A new commandment it certainly was ; for 
until He exhibited it, how could the world have understood it 1 
How could His love for man have been made intelligible to 
corrupt nature 1 Of one friend dying for another some idea 
might have been formed : but that one human being should 
ever die for the rest of mankind, for those of whom he knew 
nothing, of such charity as this they could never have formed 
a conception. How much less, then, of a God-man, thus 
acting, thus sacrificing Himself. But let us take the standard 
in its lowest degree ; the former one brings us to love our 
neighbours only as ourselves. Did Jesus love us only as Him 
self 1 That standard would allow us, when one must be pre 
ferred, to give ourselves that preference ; but He loved us more 
by for than His own life, for He gave even that for our sakes, 
and " greater love than that no man hath." We who are the 
chosen priests of God may, upon some emergency, be called to 
give even this proof of our charity; and therefore must be 
ready to give it. At any rate, it is not too much to be ever 
prepared to sacrifice our health and strength to others spiritual 
good, and so, if necessary, our veiy lives. But it is a standard 
for all, and consequently all should study to acquire as high a 
degree of true charity as may guide them to this readiness, if 
ever required of them. But below this highest degree there 
are many others in our blessed Saviour s charity, which it is 


our positive duty to aim at. His entire life was spent in pro 
curing the temporal, and still more, the spiritual welfare of 
others. He " went about doing good," seeking actually the 
opportunities of benefiting men. Now, though we do not 
possess His sniraculous and divine powers, though, therefore, 
our sphere of active good must be far inferior and more limited, 
yet we may imitate this love by a constant attention to the 
welfare of our neighbours, and by taking every opportunity of 
advancing their spiritual profit. How tenderly shall I regard 
all, how inwardly and how actively shall I love them, if I 
make the love of Jesus the standard of my love ! 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " But, my loving Saviour, 
how shall I ever hope to attain this perfection amidst the cor 
ruption of the flesh, and the many oppositions of self-love and 
self-interest? It can only be by the study of Thy life, by 
meditating on Thy incessant and unwearied kindness towards 
me during Thy life, and in Thy death ; but principally it is in 
the triumphant and omnipotent power of Thy grace that I rest 
my hopes. Give me, my God, a truly loving heart, and one 
that shall ever aspire after a higher degree of virtue. Next 
to the love of Thyself, let the love of my neighbour, for whom 
Thou dost will me to labour, occupy my heart. Formed upon 
Thy own love, let it produce in me the same happy fruits of 
patience, meekness, and zeal, in seeking his good ; but beyond 
every other kind of charity, let me aim at promoting the eternal 
advantage of as many as possible, by ever seeking to edify and 
to instruct them, to remove their errors and to advance them in 
virtue unto life everlasting." 

fHontfj, Swotft SJStefc. 

Preparation. Imagine our Saviour meekly presenting Him 
self to John to be baptized. 

1. Reflect how our Blessed Redeemer came to the banks of 
Jordan where John was baptizing, and offered Himself for 
baptism. The holy baptist had preached penance and forgive- 


ness of sin ; the rite which he performed was outwardly a 
penitential one, for the benefit of such as, on his exhortations 
or threats, repented of their iniquities. "Whoever came did so 
as a sinner, acknowledging his need of such remedies. See, 
then, the Lamb without spot or stain, who taketh away the 
sins of the world, unattended, without disciples, come in the 
midst of the sinful crowd, as though He was one of them, and 
Avith humble and most unaffected words ask to be admitted like 
the rest to baptism. Consider how nature rebels within us 
when we are expected to join in a crowd of the poor and the 
rude in any work of piety or devotion ; how we shrink from 
them, and appear to think we should be contaminated by their 
touch j how we decline to kneel in the midst of the poor, or 
to be as one of the crowd. Yet it is possible, nay probable, 
that many of those whose company I so despise, may be better 
before God, more virtuous than I. But now let us attend to 
the beautiful contest of humility between Jesus and the Baptist. 
" I ought to be baptized by Thee," says St. John, " and 
cornest Thou to me|" (Matt. iii. 14). He could not bear the 
thought of treating Him as a sinner, whom he knew to be the 
Holy One, the latchet of whose shoes he was not worthy to 
untie. He was like Peter when Jesus came to wash his feet, 
" Tu lavas mild pedes I " But the Divine Master, in both 
cases, overruled the objections and scruples of His loving 
disciples, by insisting on their performance or submission to 
what He in His humility commanded. It was needful that 
one should give way ; and the virtue of the inferior would have 
been shown to be hollow and worthless, had it not been 
accompanied by docility, and led to submission and obedience. 
Hence Jesus proved His humility by submitting to baptism. 
" Suffer it to be done so now ; for so it becometh us to fulfil all 
justice;" and the holy baptist gave a proportionate proof of 
his, by submitting, in spite of his objection, to perform it. The 
baptism of Jesus is not only a lesson of humility, but a proof 
of His manifold love to us. For it was on our account, for our 
sakes, that He submitted to this humiliation, wherein He was 
accounted among transgessors, lowering Himself in anticipation 
of the bitter moment of His passion, to the degradation of 
being considered a sinner like one of us. 


2. Reflect, how if the mysteries of this great act of our dear 
Redeemer s life were great on earth, they were much greater in 
heaven. For as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens 
opened, and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and alighted 
upon Him, and a voice was heard from heaven, saying : " Hie 
estfilius meus dilectus in quo mihi complacui : ipsum audited 
Here is a divine testimony to our Blessed Lord s wisdom, and 
a solemn proclamation to the world of His sublime dignity. 
From the time of His birth it would seem that heaven had 
been silent regarding Him ; but now that He was about to 
enter on His great task of teaching mankind the truths of 
eternity, and laying the foundation of the religion and Church 
whereby they were to be saved, although His own miracles 
would have been sufficient to give abundant evidence and 
testimony, yet it was fitting and just that the primary witness 
should be the Father who had sent Him, whose will He was to 
accomplish, whose words He was to speak, and whose Son he 
was to proclaim Himself. If the Baptist even before this had 
known and acknowledged Him for what He was, judge what 
must have now been his delight, and what encouragement he 
must have received, on seeing this sublime and heavenly vision, 
and hearing that decisive Voice. The Spirit of God, the source 
of all knowledge and grace, visibly manifests Himself to bear 
His testimony to the fulness of power which our Lord had 
received in His humanity ; while the Father declares Him to 
be His co-equal Son. But what an injunction is here given to 
us all. " Ipsum audited u Take care how ye despise His teach 
ing, in all whose actions, words, and thoughts I am well pleased. " 
Beware how ye neglect His admonitions or counsels, whose 
every breath is most precious in My sight." Who, after such 
a testimony, will presume to neglect the doctrines or precepts 
of the Son of God 1 ? But besides this solemn, open, and divine 
attestation in favour of His mission who afterwards said, " As 
my Father hath sent Me, so do I send you : " we have here 
the concurrence of all the three Divine Persons, in preparing 
that laver which in their joint Name was to wash away sin, and 
restore the fallen creature. It was indeed a work worthy of 
their co-operation, as the profession of our faith in them, and 
the first application to our souls of the fruits of redemption. 


This is a truly great mystery, on which much of our hopes of 
salvation depend ; and this is the great mystery of our blessed 
Redeemer s baptism. 

Affections. " Blessed be Thou, my dearest Jesus, for having 
submitted to such humiliation for my sake ; both to leave me 
an example of such virtue, and to procure for me such signal 
encouragement, and such rich blessings. How can I con 
template Thee without love, the holy and spotless One, the 
delight of heaven, and the glory of earth, descending into the 
Jordan, and plunged beneath its waters, then rising again, as 
though Thou hadst had sins to cleanse away ! Instead of this, it 
was Jordan that was purified, and its waters and all others 
rendered a fitting instrument of the sacrament of our regenera 
tion, which opens to us the gate of heaven, even as Thy 
baptism opened it before Thee ; and brings down the Holy 
Ghost upon our souls, as it did upon Thy Head. I love Thee, 
therefore, humbled in Thy baptism as though a sinner, and 
exalted as the well-beloved Son of God the Father, and the 
founder of Thy holy religion. I bless Thee, and embrace Thy 
sacred feet, and vow to Thee eternal honour, obedience, and 

IHontfj, -Scconfc 
SECOND TABLE OF THE DECALOGUE. Duties towards Parents. 

1. Reflect how the very laws of nature suggest and inspire, 
rather than teach, the duty which all children should discharge 
towards their parents. Even instinct is sufficient to implant in 
the beasts of the field a kind of sentiment of such an affection. 
And the same power may be said to be our first teacher in this 
duty. For, before we can understand it as a precept, before 
indeed we are capable of being subject to a law, the feeling of 
affection for those who gave us birth has grown up and 
strengthened in us. But much greater force does it acquire, 
when we become gradually able to comprehend the extent of 
the benefits our parents have conferred upon us. For, although 
in giving us life, they were but, as the mother of the Machabees 
acknowledged, the instruments of God, yet for this we owe 


them gratitude and affection during tlieir life and ours. This, 
however, is far from being the chief ground of our filial feelings. 
They took the tenderest care of us from the time of cur birth ; 
when we were frail and helpless, they provided for us with food, 
shelter, raiment, service, and all that we needed. They watched 
over us in sickness, and shielded us amid the thousand dangers 
of infancy. They bore with all our waywardness and caprice, 
our ill-humours and unreasonable wishes : they not only over 
looked our hourly faults and trying conduct, but were even too 
much inclined to look at them with a favourable eye, and love 
us the better for our childish failings. Besides this, they 
took care of our improvement and education, at a considerable 
charge; and perhaps often at no small sacrifice and incon 
venience. They warned or guarded us from many dangers and 
allurements : they were ever ready to give us the best advice in 
all difficulties, and not only permitted but aided us to follow 
God s will in the accomplishment of our vocation. Even since 
we have grown up, we have experienced no change in their 
kindness, and they have ever proved our best friends. But 
besides these feelings of affection, there are others no less- 
important, those of respect, docility, and obedience. Providence, 
in giving us to them, gave them authority over us, a right to 
our reverence, and a power to command us in all things lawful. 
They were made responsible for our well-being, spiritual as well 
as temporal \ and how should they secure that which cannot 
be attained without our concurrence, except through the power 
to direct and command us 1 The very experience which they 
possess, far beyond ours, joined to their love of us, must make 
them our natural counsellors and best advisers. But beyond 
this, the law of nature itself constitutes their command over 
us, their authority being the model and basis of all other 
jurisdiction in the social body. How respectful then, how 
dutiful, as well as how affectionate should be our conduct 
towards them ! 

2. Reflect how the law of God has added its sanction to the 
voice of nature, by elevating its teaching into a commandment. 
God, in the Old Law, placed it immediately after those precepts 
which regarded His own honour \ thereby showing us that our 
parents stand -next to Himself in order of affection and 


reverence. Hence, He constantly illustrates the honour, duty, 
and love which He requires from us by a reference to that 
which we pay to them. He calls Himself our Father, that 
under that title He might exert a more intelligible claim to 
those sentiments, and that we might better be able to understand 
them. He denounces the severest punishment against those 
who are wanting in respect or duty towards them ; His law 
made habitual disobedience to them punishable with death. 
The ravens of the torrent a,re said to be instruments of His 
vengeance against those who transgress this commandment, by 
plucking out the eyes of such as mock their parents. The 
entire race of Cham was made outcast for his irreverence to his 
father. But besides these denunciations of chastisement, God 
enforced the precept by a promise : " Honour thy father and 
thy mother, that thy days may be long on the earth." " This," 
says St. Paul, " is the first commandment that hath a promise." 
It is, indeed, a promise of temporal prosperity to such as 
observe this duty, assuring to them a long and happy life here 
below ; but it is a still stronger promise of an endless life in 
that true country which God has giv6n us after death. For 
this duty, if fulfilled by such actions as His law suggests, will 
have its due claim on a reward in heaven. Hence we find Jesus, 
the teacher and model of every virtue, employed, early in His 
sacred life, in giving us an example of this. Born of a pure virgin, 
and therefore without any one on earth to claim from Him a 
father s love, He yet chose to have a foster-father, whom men 
generally reckoned as his real parent, that so He might manifest 
how dear this virtue is to Him. Hence He not only submitted 
Himself to Joseph, as well as to His dear Mother ; but He 
assisted him in his mean trade, working with His blessed 
Hands, as though He had need of support from daily labour : 
thus proving that no service is too mean, when performed in 
obedience to those whorh God has thus placed over us. 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " I thank Thee, my God, for 
having so early inspired me with those feelings which have 
rendered the discharge of this obligation easy and pleasing. I 
thank Thee for having given me parents, who seconded, by the 
education they imparted, Thy loving intentions towards me, 
and permitted me to follow the vocation Thou didst bestow on 


me. Let ine never forget their kindness, nor ever cease to study 
how I may requite their love. Make me dutiful and respectful 
to them, considerate as they have been towards me, tender and 
solicitous as they were in my infancy. Let me endeavour to 
comfort their declining years with filial affection, to make their 
end without anxiety, and to follow their memory with prayers 
and supplications for their peace, so long as I live. Teach me 
to observe this Thy precept, that I may inherit its reward. 7 

fftcrttfj, ccontJ 

THE PASSION. THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus is accused of 
Blasphemy. (The Testimony against Him.) 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your Saviour standing 
in meek silence before the wicked high priest and the assembly 
of his enemies. 

1. Reflect how the high priest, finding it impossible to ground 
any reasonable charge against Jesus upon the false testimony 
which he and his council had been able to suborn, took 
advantage of the candour and simple truthfulness which he well 1 
knew to be our Saviour s character, to convict Him, if possible, 
out of His own mouth. He therefore stands up and adjures 
Him by the living God, to say if he be the Christ, the Son of 
the living God. Jesus hesitates not a moment to declare 
Himself such as He was ; and the high priest replies, saying ; 
"Hie blasphemat, quid opus est adhuc testibus ?" Now, look 
at the monstrous nature of this proceeding. Jesus had all 
along proclaimed Himself the Christ, the Son of God : and had 
they thought this sufiicient to convict Him, it would have cost 
them but little trouble or ingenuity to collect evidence of it, 
instead of charging their souls with perjury by procuring false 
and lying witnesses. But the evidence of His miracles was so 
strong that they had not ventured to attack Him directly on 
this head : they rather hoped to throw discredit on His claims 
by adducing such charges against Him as would appear in 
compatible with the character of the Messias. For this purpose 
they had framed the charge of His having threatened the 


destruction of the temple, which the Messias was expected 
to restore to its former glory. Now, foiled in all these attempts, 
they are reduced to convict Him on the direct charge of 
asserting Himself to be the Messias ; an assertion which they 
charge with blasphemy. Impious and most foul charge ! 
Against whom was it possible for Jesus, divine and consub- 
stantial to the Father, to blaspheme 1 But, on the other 
hand, observe the horrible blasphemy which the impious priest 
himself commits in making such a charge against our Lord. 
Perhaps in all the Passion there is not a more outrageous insult 
upon Him than this charge of the wicked pontiff. Imagine, 
for a moment, one of the ancient prophets ; David, who had 
placed all his hopes and centred all his happiness in the coming 
of this his son, Isaias ; who had so lovingly described Him, and 
written his ardent aspirations after Him ; or Daniel, who had 
so much prayed and longed for Him ; and who had been so able 
to discover the false testimony of the two elders : imagine these 
saints of the ancient law standing beside the council of their 
nation, and seeing its chief prie&t solemnly pronounce their 
desired One, their loved One, their hope and joy a blasphemer ! 
Would they not have seized the sword of Phinees, and trans 
fixed him on the spot 1 

2. Reflect what lessons we may learn from this event in our 
dear Redeemer s passion. It is more than likely that, if I 
defend the truth of our holy religion without disguise or 
reserve, if I push home any arguments to its adversaries, they 
will call me a blasphemer. If I say that Jesus, who could, in 
three days, build up the Temple not made with hands, has 
given us His Body and Blood in the Blessed Eucharist, in 
which bread is changed into His Body, I shall be told that I 
blaspheme. If I boldly assert that Mary is to be reverenced, 
invoked, and worshipped, I shall be told that I am a blasphemer. 
If I say that I or any minister of God has power to 
forgive sins, I shall hear it said, " Ilic blaspJiemat." What 
then 1 Shall I wonder at this 1 Is the disciple greater than 
the Master? If the world have said this of Him, shall they not 
say it of us? If Jesus was called a blasphemer for openh 
declaring the truth, shall I not rejoice if, for the same reason, 
I, like Kim, am so styled ? Shall it not encourage me to 


proclaim still louder the doctrine He has committed to my charge] 
But, further, what do we owe Jesus for this portion of His 
sufferings 1 What, but a tribute of our most fervent praise ! 
What, but a compensation of honour and reverence most 
publicly given Him 1 Who can doubt but that the angels in 
heaven redoubled their hosannas, and raised their voices to a 
more jubilant strain, when these horrible words were uttered, 
to compensate and repair the outrage done to Him on earth 1 
A_nd we, for whom He submitted to the indignity, for whose 
encouragement He was pleased to undergo so shameful a 
reproach, shall not we also redouble our praise and thanks 
giving for so much mercy and so much love ? Shall we not cry 
out with His apostle, every time we hear the insult offered, 
" My Lord and my God "1 

3. Affections. " O my good and suffering Jesus, can I ever 
forget what Thou hast been pleased to suffer for my sake? 
Can I ever cease to bless and praise Thee, to love and serve 
Thee, in return for so much kindness 1 I desire now specially 
to commemorate what Thou sufferedst for my sake from so 
many foul reproaches and blasphemies during Thy blessed 
passion. Thou wert called a blasphemer for the love of me ! 
Yet stay ; how often has my incorrigible tongue injured and 
offended Thee, by its unjust or light discourses perhaps, as 
much as that of the wicked high priest ? Now, therefore, I 
consecrate and dedicate this unruly member to Thee, and bind 
it down in a perpetual compact to bless and praise Thee, to 
proclaim Thy glories to all men, to defend Thy divinity, and 
make known Thy mercies with all its power ! It shall love to 
own itself Thy servant and unworthy instrument ; it shall 
delight to descant upon Thy attributes, and Thy loving kind 
ness ; it shall never be weary in uttering, with all fondness, 
Thy sweet and tender Name ; even in its last utterances, when 
death comes to still it, it shall falter forth Thy most holy and 
most blessed name. My heart, too, shall accompany it in 
giving Thee glory : ever studying to gain Thee praises from 
those that know Thee not, and praise Thee not." 


fHontfj, cconti KJcfh. Satttrfcag. 
THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her humility. 

1. Reflect liow sublime was the holiness, purity, and virtue 
of the Blessed Mother of God, long before the angel addressed 
her. How difficult then, it seems to us, that she should not 
have been conscious of her own superiority in grace, and 
closer union with God beyond all her companions and friends ! 
Yet it is evident how far she was from entertaining such 
feelings. She remained, like one of them, in equal obscurity 
and even greater retirement. She was betrothed to a poor 
artisan, without aspiring to anything higher, though descended 
from the royal family. And thus, when the angel entered into 
her poor cottage, and saluted her as full of grace, and blessed 
among women, she was astonished at the greeting : not being, 
in her humility, able to comprehend how it should be addressed 
to her, or in what respect she could be considered as above the 
rest. Even after the heavenly messenger had unfolded to her 
the counsels of God in her behalf, she was far from being 
exalted, in her own thoughts, at the dignity to which she had 
been raised but meekly replied, " Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat 
mihi secundum verbum tuum" She still considered herself 
nothing better than the poor handmaid or servant of her God, 
though in truth already His mother. Then see how, instead of 
hastening to impart her great secret to Joseph, she goes on as 
usual, without giving him reason to surmise that most won 
derful event, till at length it was revealed to him also. See 
her then proceeding to her cousin, Elizabeth, who is utterly 
confounded at the condescension of her coming. " Whence is 
this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" 
Nay, it would seem as if Mary s humility only then began to 
perceive the immensity of the favour she had received, and the 
dignity to which she had been exalted ; for only then she broke 
forth into that sublime canticle, the Magnificat, the song of the 
humble, in which God is blessed for having noticed and exalted 
one so lowly. Who can describe the lessons of humility 
this ever blessed Virgin gives us throughout the mysteries 
f o 


of her Divine Son s birth and infancy ; a humility second only to- 
His own? Content with the stable in the depth of winter; content 
with the bed of straw on which herself and her heavenly babe 
must repose; content with the neglect and contempt of the 
world ; content with the want of all things, she asks not a 
palace nor even a shed the Mother of God humbly submits to 
the inscrutable dispositions of Divine Providence. Ah, how 
well known to Omniscience was the humility of that blessed 
mother, when such a birth was decreed to the Eternal Son ! What 
shall we say of the flight into Egypt, attended by Joseph alone, 
through the lonely desert upon a humble beast of burden? 
"What of all the privations of her residence there ? What but 
an unparalleled humility, such as the world had never seen, 
such as her Son s alone was ever to eclipse, could have borne 
one so exalted through such want and humiliation ? 

2. Reflect upon the almost stronger proofs of humility which 
this thrice Blessed Virgin gave through the rest of her pilgrim 
age on earth. During the retired life of her Son, it is less 
surprising that she should have chosen to take part in His 
retirement. But when He emerged from that obscurity and 
became the wonder and admiration of the whole land, did she 
become in proportion conspicuous ? "No ; she remained in the 
same concealment; she never put herself forward as having 
any right to share in His glory, though she surely might have 
claimed some participation therein. She was not to be seen in 
the crowds that followed Him ; she was not to be heard of in 
the discourses of the public as one who should be revered and 
esteemed for His sake, and for her own. She remains at 
Nazareth, earning probably her bread by the labour of her 
delicate hands ; hearing, indeed, with a mother s heart but y 
ah ! with all a mother s anxiety how all courted, admired, 
and followed her dear Son ; how that many would make Him 
king ! Occasionally, when the festival days required it, she 
goes up to Jerusalem, in company of her kindred and other 
pious and devout women ; but never obtruding herself on His 
notice, or claiming a share in the attention paid to Him. 
But at the last scene, the humility of Mary claims its place ; she 
is then prominent, indeed, in the foremost post of sorrow and 
reproach, which belongs to the mother of the Divine Victim 


she is there, at the foot of the cross, sacrificing her Son without 
murmur or complaint. How was this, her humility, put to the 
test, when John was given her in exchange for Jesus, and when 
she saw herself once^more alone, and now a childless mother 1 
And in the silence of her after life, we may read lessons of 
humility beyond what volumes c6uld teach. 

3. Affections. " Oh, bountiful God "and Master ! Not con 
tent with those lessons of humility which Thou gavest us in the 
life of Thy dear Son, Jesus ; and lest, as it would seem, the 
sublime dignity of His nature might make us timid in learning 
from Him, Thou hast been pleased to provide us with a 
loving instructress in His ever-blessed mother. Oh, who will 
refuse to learn humanity from her mild lips and life 1 Who will 
decline instruction from such a teacher 1 Not I, at least, my 
dearest mother, my affectionate and well-beloved instructress ! 
Jn thee I can see this excellent virtue so taught as best to 
meet my needs. After thy purity, it is the most striking of 
thy perfections. Assist me, then, to practise this also. Thou, 
so good, so holy, so sinless, wert most humble and lowly in thy 
own estimation : while I, so unclean, so wicked, so corrupt, am 
full of pride and self-conceit ! Oh, let me glass myself in thee ; 
and, marking a vast difference between us, seek to put off 
myself and become like thee ! But in proportion, as thou 
dost humble thyself, let me exalt, praise, reverence, and love 
thee, and seek to promote thy glory and honour among all 

fftontfj, ^fjirtJ EBSwfc. Suntrag. 

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Love which God manifests 
to us in it. 

1. Reflect upon those words of our Blessed Saviour : 
" Greater love than this no man hath, that a man should lay 
down his life for his friends." Although a mere man can have 
no demonstration of love to give beyond this, we may truly say 
that the God-man has found a degree of charity and a demon 
stration of it that goes much further. Tor, not content with 

o 2 


having laid down His life for us, He has given us Himself to 
be our food, and to be most intimately united to us. Had He 
only died for us, immense, nay, infinite as the blessing and the 
favour would have been, there would have been an imperfection 
necessarily in the mode of applying to us individually the 
benefits of His passion. For had our affections alone been left 
to perform this important work, it must have contracted all 
their imperfections, and must have been coldly and languidly 
done. He willed, therefore, to employ an instrument, a chan 
nel for the transmission of this His mercy, equal, as it were, 
to the mercy itself. What could this be but Himself, who 
formed the very essence of the other ? Such, then, was His 
institution of the Blessed Eucharist, wherein He gives Himself 
again to us, that the love exhibited by His death may not, 
through our misery, be in vain. This, therefore, is a repetition 
of the immense charity and affection shown forth in His pas 
sion and bitter death. Reflect, further, how the tendency of 
all love is to procure the closest intimacy and familiarity 
between the persons who love ; they would, were their love 
perfect, deprive themselves in a manner of their individuality, 
and have but one soul, one heart. But the love of Jesus in the 
Blessed Sacrament has carried love far beyond this imaginary 
ipoint. For as nothing can be considered so thoroughly incor 
porated with us as the food and nourishment which we take, 
.inasmuch as it actually becomes a part of ourselves, so Jesus 
took this form of communication with us, becoming our spi 
ritual food, but received under species material and palpable. 
But then, as He is far the nobler, the mightier, the more ener 
gizing of the two, it follows, that instead of His being incor 
porated with us, we, in a manner, are rather incorporated with 
Him, so as to become, according to the expression of the 
fathers, " concorporei" having a common body with Him. 
"What can be conceived beyond this manifestation of love ? 
Still, to appreciate it further, if, on our part, the union be a 
most dignified and sublime one, what is it on His 1 He comes, 
then, into a frail earthen vessel, a mere tabernacle of perishable 
clay, into the body of this death, into a heart full of vanity, 
pride, folly, alid dissipation. He comes into a body defiled 
with a thousand iniquities, and unworthy of the smallest visi- 


tation of His mercy ; a body that will shortly become the 
food of worms. Here is love, indeed ; and what love, to over 
come His natural repugnance to so much that is corrupt and 
most odious in His sight, that He may satisfy His affection 
for us ! 

2. Reflect what love Jesus manifests to us in this heavenly 
institution, by unlocking to us the very source of grace and 
blessing. Not only does He give Himself, but with Himself 
the fulness of redemption, the overflowing communication of 
His mercies, the abundance of all that we can require for satis 
fying our spiritual necessities. What can we want of this 
kind, when we have received Him who is their very fountain 1 
Here we have the sovereign remedy for sin, a preservative of 
untold efficacy against transgression, an unfailing balm for the 
wounds it has inflicted, a refreshment of sweetest comfort after 
the fatigues of combat, a strengthening unction for new con 
flicts, an invigorating nourishment for our perseverance in 
good. All this Jesus daily gives us in His adorable sacra 
ment ; and surely we cannot require stronger proofs of love 
than the communication of such blessings. Consider again 
how completely all these good things, and Himself with them, 
are at our absolute disposal. For we may receive Him every 
day of our lives \ and with me, and other members of His 
priesthood, He has made it a part of our privilege so to receive 
Him in ordinary course, and without incurring remark or 
appearing singular in doing so. On His part, therefore, there 
has been 110 reserve, but we may say to Him, " Omnia tua mea 
sunk" And that we might be able in some sort to have 
access to Him at all times, He is pleased actually to reside 
amongst us in this heavenly sacrament, so that we can ever 
come before His face, day or night, and adore Him with His 
blessed angels at any hour. And in peril, when death threatens 
us, we may always find Him to comfort us, to be our guide to 
heaven, and pledge of our salvation. Is it possible to conceive, 
to imagine, a greater love than this 1 Can we believe a greater 
degree possible 1 

3. Affections. " Jesus, my life and my love, shalt Thou be 
so ardent in Thy affection towards me in this divine sacra 
ment, and I remain, as I usually do, so cold and indifferent ? 


As if Thou wert the gainer by the union which takes place 
between us, and not entirely I ? As though a benefit, a bless 
ing were conferred on Thee, and not on me, the unworthy ? 
Thou art all fire, Thou art all love. Oh, then, communicate to 
me, with Thyself, some of Thy heavenly flame, that it may not 
only warm rny heart, but set it on fire j that we may be as 
two flames that meet and join and so burn together with two 
fold intensity. * Diligam te Domine, fortitude mea. I will 
love Thee for the multitude of Thy incomparable mercies, but 
daily and hourly I will love Thee with the tenderest love for the 
blessing bestowed upon me through this adorable sacrament, 
source of every grace and good ! I give Thee my heart unre 
served and complete as Thou givest Thyself to me. I am 
Thine, my dear Jesus, Thine exclusively, with all that I 
possess. Transform me into Thyself in this furnace of love." 

&f)irtr fftontfj, 
LAST THINGS HELL. Its torment. [Its prison.] 

Preparation. Imagine, as before, a fiery furnace wherein 
the souls of the damned are shut up in torments unspeakable. 

1. Reflect how the sentence which our Blessed Saviour tells 
us He will pronounce upon the wicked will be, " Go, ye 
accursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the 
devil and his angels." In the Scriptures, this is called Topheth, 
or Gehenna, prepared with much wood and brimstone, 
kindled by the breath of God as by a vehement wind. In the 
Apocalypse, it is called the pool of fire and brimstone, whence 
the smoke of the torments of such as are therein, shall ascend 
for ever and ever. These, and other passages, clearly intimate 
that fire shall be the principal instrument of God s wrath in 
hell. What shall this fire be 1 There is, perhaps, no torment 
known to us more acute than that of fire. We shrink from it 
with absolute horror ; our very experience has been sufficient 
to warn us against allowing it to touch us. We know how the 
smallest scald or burn has, for the moment, caused us exquisite 
pain. But this fire that we here possess is a benefit of God, 


given us, by Him, to cheer and warm and comfort us. How 
different must be the intensity of that flame which is kindled 
by His anger 1 Hence it is described as a fire of brimstone 
which burns with the greatest fury ; as a conflagration kept up 
in a heap of combustibles by a mighty wind. Further, reflect 
how the fire of this world can burn but for a very brief space, 
only as long as fuel is supplied it. Hence if our body were 
exposed to the action of the slowest conceivable fire, it might go 
on torturing us for some hours ] but, in the end, we should be 
consumed, and relieved by death from our sufferings. Not so 
the fire of hell ; for its fuel is undying. It has to burn sin ; 
and as long as this exists in the damned, so long must it feed 
on them unconsumed : and as their hour of repentance is passed 
for ever, so will they for ever be subject to their torments. 
Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, age after age, 
they will go on burning ; without intermission, without relief, 
without the slightest change in this their fearful lot. Oh, what 
a dreadful thing is one night of only fever heat ! How dreary 
are the hours, how restless the throbbing head, how troubled 
the thoughts ! What, then, must it be to be chained down on 
a bed of fire, with links of flame, where even the poor relief of 
changing position, or tossing from side to side, is denied ; and 
that not for one night only, nor for twenty ; but for years, for 
ages, for ever 1 Good God ! my imagination recoils from the 
bare thought, and trembles at the idea of a suffering so far 
beyond what all the united torments of earth could amount to ! 
Oh, what must sin be, for which Thou, my God, hast decreed 
such a punishment 1 

2. Reflect how the fire of hell will not be confined to one 
part only of the bodies of the reprobate. For here below, 
except in the case of being burnt to death, which is a brief, 
sharp passage out of life, any extraordinary effects of burning 
can only fall upon one limb, or some particular portion of the 
body. But the fire of hell will extend to all. From the crown 
of the head to the sole of the foot, every spot will be scorched 
and broiled with excruciating agony, by a fire burning with an 
intensity inconceivably greater than that of any fire here 
below. Every part will be enwrapped in an atmosphere of 
flame ; it will be as a bath, like those cauldrons of molten lead 


in which martyrs were plunged, yet far more intense a 
cauldron of liquid fire, of fire in its very essence, unmitigated 
by any breath of air, or any relaxation of its fury. Every pore 
will drink it in, and convey it through the mass of the flesh, 
and it will burn into the solid bone, until the marrow shall 
boil within. It shall circulate through the veins and arteries, 
so as to leave no place unvisited. It shall search and penetrate 
through and through the damned, seeming as if a furnace were 
kindled within them. The brain shall seethe as if melted by an 
unceasing fire. The tongue, the eyes, shall each have its own 
flame devouring, yet not consuming it. . Oh, who will endure 
all this ? who can bear so much as the thought of it 1 But 
there is still one quality of this fire of hell, of which we can 
form no adequate idea on earth. We cannot even come near 
to it by any of the feeble analogies of the weak fires we are 
acquainted with. The fire of hell will reach to the very soul, 
and act directly upon it. "We know what the sufferings of the 
spirit are ; we can understand the soul afflicted, angered, des 
pondent, even to despair ; but a soul burning, a soul in flames, 
we cannot even imagine by the greatest stretch of fancy. Thus, 
however, we can reason, though we cannot conceive. First, 
what manner of terrible fire must that be, which is endued 
with such a strange power ; and how dreadful must its inflic 
tion be upon the body, if it be forcible and penetrating enough 
to reach the very spirit within. Secondly, how keen must be 
the sensation of pain, which reaches the soul at once, without 
passing through the duller senses of the body, which are its 
ordinary channel of sensations here on earth 1 Such is the fire 
of hell. 

3. Resolutions and Affections. "Well may we ask one another 
in the prophet s words, Who will be able to dwell in ever 
lasting burnings V Who amongst us dares to say, I fear not 
all this ; I will boldly face it, and endure it ! Yet thus does 
every sinner resolve, thus does he speak in act, when he 
deliberately offends God ; conscious that he thereby incurs this 
deluge of fire, this eternal lot of torments. He chooses the 
momentary gratification of sin with this frightful appendage ! 
Can anything be more awful or more insane ? Is it possible, 
my God, that after the clear denunciations of Thy word, our 


eyes can ever be so blinded by our passions, or by the tempter, 
that we should lose sight of this unquenchable fire, which burns 
with far more terrible fury, than that which Nabuchodonosor 
kindled for the three children ? Fornax autem succensa erat 
nimiSj nam jussio regis urgebat. Let this fearful retribution 
ever be before me. When temptation assails me, let me 
remember that by every sin I kindle it still more, and cause 
Thee to command that its horrors be aggravated for my tor 
ment. Let the sight of this flame quench within me the 
unholy fires of concupiscence and all unruly passions. Let it 
be an effectual check to pride and every ambitious desire. 
Never, O my God, will I do anything to incur a doom so 
fearful ! " 

"The Ministers of Christ, and Dispensers of the Mysteries 
of Goer 

1. Reflect how high a dignity that must be, which is so 
described by the Apostle. Our priesthood, as we have seen in 
a former meditation, is the same as Christ s ; and as Jesus 
dies no more, and as His sacerdotal dignity remains with Him 
for ever, it follows that we are not His successors, but His 
ministers and agents in the administration of its functions. 
Now in the old law, the offices of the priesthood were con 
sidered so noble and so holy as to be reserved to one family ; 
and none but those who descended from the family of Aaron 
were admitted to a share in them. Yet his priesthood was 
but a shadow of ours. As ministers of Christ, we become 
peculiarly members of His family ; we are adopted in a special 
manner into His inheritance, we become His brethren by a 
closer tie. But reflect to what end is this ministry. It is to 
co-operate with Christ in working out the salvation of men, to 
assist Him in making efficacious His sacred death and passion, 
whereby the Avorld has been redeemed. Can any honour be 
conceived more special and more distinguished than this 1 
Moreover, reflect upon the second of St. Paul s characteristics 


of our ministry : " Dispensatores mysteriorum Dei : " stewards 
of the mysteries of God. The Divine Bounty has been pleased 
to institute innumerable means of grace in His church, by the 
preaching of His word, by the administration of His sacra 
ments, by the efficacy of religious observances in great variety. 
It is through these means principally that He has appointed 
the way of salvation to men. The administration of all these 
He has committed to us, the ministers of His church. "We 
are thus His ambassadors to negotiate with men the great busi 
ness of salvation ; we are His dispensers, to deal out to them 
food, medicine, and whatever else they need amid the toils and 
dangers of their pilgrimage. We are His ministers, to : set His 
seal, and sign His name to all the great covenants and trans 
actions between heaven and redeemed man ; lastly, we are His 
treasurers, having the "key of all the rich stores of grace, 
whereby alone man can be enriched here and hereafter. What 
a combination of high and noble offices ! What a most sub 
lime dignity for such a poor and worthless creature as I am to 
be raised to ! But, at the same time, what an awful respon 
sibility ! What a strict account I must one day render of the 
manner in which these offices have been administered, and of 
the benefits thence derived to the people of God. Woe to me, 
if I am unable to render a good account of my stewardship ! 

2. Reflect what are the practical conclusions which St. Paul 
draws from these characteristics of our priesthood : " Hie jam 
quceritur inter dispensatores ut fidelis quis inveniatur." If we 
are stewards and agents of God, fidelity to our charge is the 
qualification which He will reward. Our Saviour compares 
His ministers to servants whom He leaves in trust of His 
family. Should He find one of them, when suddenly calling 
him to account, to have been oppressing his fellow-servants, 
and wasting his Lord s substance, He will judge him severely, 
and proceed to punish^him with the utmost rigour. But if he 
shall have been a careful administrator of his master s property 
he shall receive a reward incomparably great. God will one 
day call upon me to answer for the way in which I have stood 
between Him and His people ; and whether I have been a 
faithful dispenser of the means of salvation He has placed in 
my hands. Have I been faithful, I shall be asked, in the first 


duty of my state, that of edifying the faithful of Christ 1 Has 
my example been such as to lead them into the paths of holi 
ness, and keep them there 1 For the sanctity of the sacerdotal 
state is one of the instruments of grace, and not the least, 
which He has committed to our keeping. Have I been faithful 
in the administration of the talents, be they five, or two, or 
one only, which He has placed at my disposal ? Have I cul 
tivated my faculties, whether for study or active duties, which 
He has given me, to produce the greatest good they are capable 
of] Have I so applied myself to the preaching of His word 
according to the grace He has given me, that none has ever 
lost its spiritual benefit through my neglect 1 Have I acquired 
theological learning with such diligence and zeal, that as many 
as ought, or could, have had from me the benefit of enlightened 
instruction ? Have I administered the sacrament of penance 
so as to win many souls to grace, to keep many in virtue, and 
reclaim many from habitual vice ? Have I been faithful in the 
ministration of the duty there confided to me, so as to impart 
forgiveness to none but such as were duly qualified 1 Have I 
administered the Blessed Eucharist, and the other sacraments, 
to the profit of those committed to my charge ? 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " See, my soul, what a 
solemn charge follows upon the dignity of being the minister of 
Christ, and the dispenser of His mysteries ! How shall I be 
able to answer one thing for a thousand in such questionings as 
these 1 Yet I know full well, that one solemn Day I shall be 
called on for an answer to them, and an answer which will 
decide my doom for eternity. Oh, then, my dear and gracious 
Saviour, since I am Thy minister, however unworthy of the 
name, I call upon Thee for help to correspond, as I ought, to 
the glory of my title, and the depth of its responsibility. Thy 
grace is sufficiently strong to make of the meanest and most 
worthless the fittest instrument for Thy great designs. Pour, 
then, upon me this grace in abundance, re-awaken within me 
the true spirit of my calling ; make me faithful in the perform 
ance of every duty of my state, whereon depends the spiritual 
welfare of Thy children. So shall I secure my own salvation 
by aiding them in theirs. Make me faithful unto death, and 
so give me the crown of life." 


Ojt rtJ fHontfj, Cf)ttti SHcrft. 

1. Reflect how humility was the virtue which our Blessed 
Saviour principally wished us to learn from His example, as He 
Himself declared in these words : " Learn of Me, because I 
am meek and humble of heart." It greatly imports us, there 
fore, to study this virtue as taught us by Him. Now, whereas 
in learning other virtues from Him, the infinite disproportion 
between His condition and ours is, in some respect, a difficulty 
in our way, in this, it may be said to give us an advantage. 
For we can never come up, even in imagination, to the charity, 
the fervour, the resignation, the holiness of the Son of God ; 
the purity and perfection of His Soul is so incomparably remote 
from all our aspirations, that we cannot hope even distantly to 
approach Him. But upon this virtue of humility it would 
seem natural to reason thus : " If Jesus, so pure and perfect, 
could be so humble, how easy must it be for me, who am so 
miserable and worthless, to be so. For humility is more 
properly the natural quality than the virtue of the sinful and 
wretched. He must have had to shut His eyes to His wonderful 
and sublime qualities, virtues and perfections, in order to practise 
humility j while I need only open mine in order to see such 
causes for confusion, and for a low esteem of myself, that pride 
should seem to me impossible." "We see, in fact, that men 
placed by fortune in poor, or, as we call them, humble circum 
stances, naturally assume a respectful and lowly bearing : it 
costs them no effort. Those, on the contrary, who are raised 
on high, with difficulty acquire such behaviour. Surely, then, 
in the inward life it ought to be the same ; and if Jesus, our 
Lord and God, gives us such bright examples of humility 
through His whole life, it can cost us, His servants, little to 
copy and conform ourselves to it. We may justly say that this 
virtue is the most essential one of our Redeemer s life, not 
merely exhibited in particular actions, not proved by singular 
passages ; but rather forming the character of His entire life 
upon earth, from the Blessed Virgin s womb, to the cross on 
Calvary. What an act of sublime and most perfect humility 


was His taking upon Him our human nature ! St. Paul 
accurately describes it by the expression, " semctipsum 
exinanivit, formam servi accipiens." He emptied and despoiled 
Himself of all His glory, and became a servant. Surely, after 
that self-abasement, humility could hardly find a further step ; 
there was no deeper abyss to which it could descend ! For 
even in this, every attendant circumstance, as the low estate 
of His mother and reputed father, the place of His birth, the 
companions of His infancy, the lowliness of His fortune, the 
contempt of the world : these and many others were so many 
additional degrees of the abasement to which He submitted. 
Yet are they all as nothing when placed beside the wonderful, 
overpowering mystery, " The Word was made flesh ; " the 
consubstantial of the Father took the form of man ; the infinite 
Maker of all things assumed the nature and conditions of a 
creature ; the All-perfect descended to the imperfections and 
miseries of man ! 

2. Reflect how, though this might appear the lowest possible 
degree of self-humiliation, one still lower is to be found in the 
end for which this abasement was undergone. For He humbled 
Himself to the nature of man, that thereby He might be able 
to humble Himself "unto death, even the death of the cross." 
If that humility seems an excess of divine condescension, which 
made God man, what esteem then shall we have of that which 
made a God-man die, and die a deatli so full of shame 1 Surely 
if the wisest of the world had ever arrived so far in their 
speculations as to conceive humility to be a virtue, they would 
still have placed some limits to it ; and any limit they might 
fix, however extravagant it might then have seemed, would 
certainly have excluded the possibility of such an excess as this. 
They would not have imagined, for instance, that a monarch 
could ever, at the call of this virtue, take upon him a slave s 
habit, work with him at the oar, or submit to death for his 
sake. Had they even pushed the possible practice of this virtue 
so far, it would have been deemed nothing short of impiety to 
imagine the Most High God as submitting to such degradation. 
Yet truly, even to the very extent of this did Jesus proceed in 
His divine self-abasement. Having become one of us, He then 
died for us. But what a death ! A death of ignominy, 


accompanied with the bitterest torments, a death of slaves and 
criminals, never inflicted but upon those reputed among the 
vilest : a death inflicted by His own countrymen, in the 
company of noted criminals, amidst the taunts and curses of an 
unpitying, unbelieving rabble ! To all this did He submit ; 
and after it all, to a most ungrateful requital ! Surely, the 
humility of Jesus may well be classed among His most 
wonderful and miraculous actions, equalling them in greatness. 
And well may it be considered among His chief and most 
characteristic virtues. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. "And with this example 
before me, is it possible, my dear Jesus, that I should find the 
practice of humility difficult 1 Can I ever repine, or ever think 
myself placed too low by others, after contemplating the abyss 
of humiliation to which Thou wast pleased to descend for love 
of me 1 No ; rather let me glory in humiliation, in the 
contempt of men, whereby I am brought the nearer to Thy 
blessed and dear example. Let me rejoice when men despise 
me ; seeing that therein I resemble Thee, whom my soulloveth. 
But principally teach me to love and court humility when they 
are to be encountered in Thy cause, and for the salvation of 
others. Then, indeed, may I feel that, since the motive is the 
same which brought Thee down to us, and clothed Thee in our 
flesh, and made Thee die on the cross, I am thereby more con 
formable to Thy likeness, and more worthy of Thy com 
passionate love. But let me not have to go out of myself to 
find opportunities for the exercise of this excellent virtue. Let 
me ever love and cherish and practise it in my heart and soul. 
Let me ever be lowly in my own esteem, a despiser of 
myself, the first to feel my own nothingness. And if Thou, 
my loving Saviour, so innocent, so holy, and so perfect, couldst 
find a way to practise such humility, surely I, who am so poor 
a creature and so wretched a sinner, may find a thousand. 
Blessed be Thou, and praised and glorified to all eternity, for 
having so debased Thyself to be my master, my teacher, and my 


&f)tttr fftontfj, 
MISSIONARY DUTIES. On zeal for God s truth and honour. 

1. Reflect how God, having called you to a participation in 
the dignity of His priesthood, has thereby made you one of the 
guardians of His truth and a vindicator of His honour. At all 
times, and in all places, His truth is a pearl of inestimable 
value, which, if once lost, all the treasures of earth cannot 
replace. It is one and indivisible, and is placed in our custody 
to be preserved entire and unimpaired. With what jealousy 
are the jewels of an earthly prince kept ! What faithful and 
trustworthy persons are selected for their guardians ! What 
iron bolts and bars are placed round them ! What precautions 
taken against persons who approach, much more against any 
who touch them ! And we, who have been chosen the guar 
dians of God s truth and faith, with what fidelity, watchfulness, 
and diligence, ought we not to keep ward over them, lest any 
one injure or impair them ! And if this be so everywhere, 
what should it be in a country like ours, where error and 
heresy are ever making attempts to despoil us of our sacred 
and invaluable deposit 1 But this is not enough. Our jealousy 
of God s truth, our watchfulness over it, must spring from the 
love we feel towards it. God s truth is like Himself, beautiful 
and most lovely, beyond all that earth possesses. It is the 
liveliest image of Himself, His manifestation of His own all- 
holy and eternal thoughts, His wisdom speaking and living 
among us. And shall I not love it, beyond all the false wisdom 
of earthly philosophy and human science 1 And if God is a 
jealous God, when the interests of His truth are concerned, 
shall not I, who am His minister, be jealous over it too? Shall 
I ever allow it to be impugned, and not defend it 1 Shall I 
ever allow it to be insulted, and not vindicate it 1 Shall I ever 
hear it doubted, and not be ready to come forth as its cham 
pion ? But even this is not sufficient. God gave me not this 
deposit to be folded up in a napkin and buried under ground. 
He gave it me, that through my ministry men might know it, 
and prize, and love it ; and woe is me if I neglect this solemn 
duty ! Can I endure to see so many souls ignorant of it, and 


not labour to the utmost to make its charms known to them 1 
Shall so many millions sit in darkness, and in the shadow of 
death, and I not strive, by every means in my power, to cause 
this light to dawn upon them ? Shall I permit so many who 
know it, or at least have learnt it, to forget, neglect, almost 
despise it, and not be roused, by very indignation, to zeal, at 
seeing such a precious gift trodden under foot, and made light 
of 1 No ; let us declare ourselves henceforth the willing and 
unwearied champions of God s truth : ready, not merely to fight 
in its defence, but to go forth in its name, and win for it the 
respect, the love, the homage, and obedience, of all men, or at 
least of so many as we may be able to influence. Let it be the 
object of our hearts, and the theme of our praises ; the subject 
of our meditations, of our studies, and of our perpetual love. 

2. Reflect how we are, moreover, the guardians of His 
honour. Of this He is, if possible, more jealous than of His 
truth. il Honor em meum" He has said, "neniini dabo" The 
world, men, and angels, were created to do Him honour, and 
pay Him an unceasing homage of praise and reverence. Yet 
the world has long since forgotten and neglected its part of 
this duty. But we are His chosen tribe, His Levites in the 
midst of His people, who wear His livery, and have as our 
inheritance the defence of His honour. Not like Phinees, are 
we to seize the sword and avenge His outraged honour by its 
edge ; nor like Peter, are we to beat back by violence the 
assaults upon His sacred dignity but by words of wisdom, and 
by works of zealous charity, we must labour to promote His 
honour and glory. When His doctrine is impugned, it will not 
always be to the sole detriment of His truth ; but generally also 
to the disparagement of His honour. When, for instance, His 
adorable Eucharist is attacked, it will too often happen that 
His holiest institution is blasphemed, and perhaps His most 
glorious attributes of power and love, by implication, denied or 
doubted. How often will the glory, which He gives to His 
Saints, and, above all, to His blessed Mother, be matter of vilify 
ing comments in writing or speech. And shall we not be 
ready to stand between His honour and its impugners, to resent 
every unworthy charge, to repel every unbecoming word, and 
the more to exalt and praise His holy name, in the hearing of 


all men ? Surely, this ought to be our disposition, to raise our 
voices ever louder than those of His enemies j to make our 
alleluias be heard in heaven, far above the insults and scoffs of 
those that hate Him ; to repair, as far as our efforts can go, the 
injuries committed against Him, and take off the reproach of our 
earth, for its ingratitude and brutal inattention to its great duty 
of giving unceasing honour to its Maker. But we will not be 
content with making our poor voices to be heard alone. It is 
a chorus, a full strain of glory that we will try to raise to Him. 
For this shall be one of the great ends of our efforts, as it is of 
our ministry, to make Him and His goodness and mercy known 
to all the world j that all may love and honour and praise Him 
with ourselves. "We will not be mere lights, but brands that 
shall kindle all around us with the holy fire of His divine 
charity. We will say to all, " Come and see." " Gustate et 
videte quia suavis est Dominus" And we will bring them to 
join us in giving Him praise, and promoting the honour of 
His name. 

3. Affections and resolutions. " Zelus domus tuce comedit me." 
A zeal, my God, for these two brightest ornaments of Thy 
house, Thy truth and Thine honour, which are Thy Urim and 
Thummim, Thy light and truth, worn on the breast by every 
one of Thy priests ; an ornament to him, if he jealously guard 
them bright and unsullied ; and a rich treasure of Thine, which 
he is undone if he lose. These shall be the two watchwords of 
our united efforts to advance Thy cause : " God s truth and 
God s glory and honour" They shall be inscribed on our 
banners above the image of Thy Son s cross, whereon He sealed 
the one with His blood, and gave to the other its true and only 
perfection. For these two I will ever contend, and think their 
cause cheaply defended at theexpense of ignominy and persecu 
tion. I offer myself to be ever ready to undergo any extremity, 
to face any danger, to promote them. From this time forward 
I give myself up to Thee, to be an instrument in Thy hands, 
however unworthy, for the advancement of Thy glory, the 
defence of Thy truth ; and to bring as many as possible to 
know, and love, and serve, and glorify Thee here, and so for all 
eternity. I deserve not such honour ; but my heart is ready 
to forego all praise and glory to promote Thine alone. 



THE PASSION. THE PR^ETORIUM. Jesus is crowned wit 


Preparation. Imagine to yourself your Saviour in the midst 
of the soldiers, and crowned with thorns. 

1. Reflect, that after our Blessed Redeemer had been so 
cruelly scourged, one might have supposed that the smallest 
remains of humanity in the Roman soldiery would have led 
them to compassion ; or that mere weariness, at least, would 
make them cease from torturing Him. Instead of this, having 
exhausted all the means which the law and the sentence of the 
judge afforded them for exercising cruelty, they had recourse to 
their own ingenuity, and followed the suggestions of their 
own savage thirst for His Blood. They knew that Jesus stood 
accused of calling Himself King of the Jews : they hated the 
very title, and they determined to make it a source of cruel 
merriment at the expense of Him who so justly bore it. 
Wherefore they prepared for Him a new, unheard of kind of 
mockery, a crown woven of long, hard, and sharp thorns ; this 
they place upon His sacred head. Then they press it down 
hard, until its points pierce His sacred skin and flesh. Now 
see your dear Saviour ; how disfigured He appears, how 
wounded He is, how His brows and cheeks are moistened with 
His own Blood ! His hair is all entangled in the knotty wreath, 
and clotted with the sacred streams that issue from the many 
wounds which that cruel crown tears open in His divine Head. 
His fair temples and noble forehead are pressed round by this 
instrument of torture, which shoots its points into them, and 
opens in them so many fountains of life, so many sources of 
salvation that flow from His Heart. See how the Blood of 
God trickles down, first slowly, then in faster and thicker 
streams, till His blessed face and neck are streaked with it, then 
it runs down over all His Body, mingling with that which wells 
forth from the gashes inflicted by the scourges. Think what 
a new additional agony to the smart of His former wounds ! 
His Body had, indeed, been lacerated ; but the rods and lashes 
were not raised so high as to His sacred head and face. But 


now this divine head also was assailed by a more brutal infliction 
than had ever been before devised, and suffered its full pro 
portion of racking pain. For, not content with the first 
planting upon His sacred Head this cruel instrument of pain, 
they from time to time strike it down with a reed, thus chang 
ing the direction of its points, or forcing them in still deeper. 
Oh, which shall most excite our wonder 1 the hard and unfeel 
ing barbarity of these wretches, or the patience and meekness 
of the Lamb of God 1 See them all around Him, like so many 
wolves or tigers, mocking Him, taking delight in His sufferings, 
renewing them every moment by their blows, and shouting in 
savage exultation at every new device and ingenuity of torment. 
Then see Him, gentle and unresisting, not casting one angry 
glance at the most forward or barbarous of His tormentors, not 
uttering a word of complaint, not even expostulating with 
them, but bearing all their inflictions with a mildness and 
sweetness which should have melted and won hearts of stone 
to compassion and to love. What a pattern, what an example 
for us to follow ! What a lesson for us to learn ! What virtue 
for us to admire and put in practice ! 

2. Reflect upon the cruel mockery intended and perpetrated 
in this bloody tragedy. It was intended to ridicule and put to 
shame the claims which our dear Redeemer had to the title of 
king, not only over the Jews, but over the entire world. Could 
scorn or cruelty go further than this, to crown Him with any 
thing so mean, yet so torturing, as a wreath of thorns 1 It 
was as though they told Him that such was the only badge to 
represent His pretensions, the only fit crown for such a king as 
He. Suppose the heavens opened at that moment to the eyes 
of His base and savage tormentors ; what astonishment and 
awe would have seized them, to behold Him seated upon a 
throne of brightness, outshining the noonday sun; crowned 
with a diadem, whose splendour surpassed every light that 
illuminates this lower world ; surrounded by legions of bright 
angels, the least of them invested with a splendour and glory 
more dazzling than anything earth can show, who are each and 
all adoring Him, bending before Him as their true King, their 
Lord, their God ! How would these soldiers and executioners f 
who now seemed to have it all their own way. have cowered 

p 2 


down in terror at the sight ! Or if their eyes had been opened 
to see the future, and they had beheld His coming upon the 
clouds of heaven, in great power and majesty, attended by a count 
less host of those same blessed spirits, with that very crown 
of thorns upon His head, now shining with incomparable 
brightness, how would they have sunk upon the earth, and 
called upon its caverns to hide them ; or cast themselves at the 
feet of their victim, and cried to Him for mercy. We, then, 
enabled by faith to contemplate these scenes united, we who 
behold our suffering Lord thus barbarously treated, and who 
know that our sins did so abuse Him, and yet view Him all the 
while in glory adored by angels, and crowned with glory, what 
shall we do 1 

3. Affections. " What, my blessed and beloved Saviour, but 
fall down at Thy adorable feet and worship Thee sorrowing 1 
What, but acknowledge Thee before men and angels, as King 
-of the world, and absolute Lord of my heart 1 What, but in 
very way within my power, proclaim Thy might, Thy majesty, 
.and Thy glory, and seek every means whereby due homage shall 
be rendered Thee by men, in reparation and atonement for the 
cruel ignominy which men have made Thee suffer? But 
.principally, and with deepest feeling, I will bewail my iniquities, 
and the many offences against Thy goodness which I know were 
the real thorns that galled Thee, and tore Thy sacred Head, 
and imbrued Thee thus with Thy most precious Blood ! So 
long as I can venerate Thy sufferings, and love Thee for having 
undergone them for my sake, so long will I detest those instru 
ments of their infliction. Yes, do Thou in return, dear Jesus, 
crown my head as with a wreath of thorns, in sorrowful and 
sincere compunction, that it may never have rest from grieving 
before Thee, and remembering what it has cost Thee to save 
and to gain it. Let the thorns which pierced Thy brow, be 
ever so many points and goads to my earnest love, constantly 
to promote Thy honour and that work of salvation for which 
Thy sacred brows were thus agonized ; and may I ever strive 
to advance Thy claims to be King of all the earth, and to reign 
in the hearts of all men." 


Cfjtrfc IHontfj, &f)irti 82Kttft. Saturtag. 

application. On the importance of learning. 

1. Reflect that if knowledge be a necessary qualification of 
the Christian priest, the acquirement of it must be one of his 
most important duties. Whatever motives, then, for our pos 
sessing knowledge and learning, may be drawn from our obliga 
tion to instruct .others, will apply with equal force, to prove 
our obligation to give ourselves to the work of obtaining it. 
The time of our education is the time especially devoted to this. 
Study forms a primary duty of that important epoch of our 
lives, next to that of laying in a stock of virtue and piety. The 
chief responsibility of our life in college is undoubtedly that of 
taking advantage of the numerous means at our disposal for 
furnishing ourselves with useful sacred and profane learning, to 
be afterwards applied to the instruction and edification of God s 
flock. The instructions we here receive, the books at our 
command, the opportunities we have of hearing others versed 
in these pursuits, the ease with which we can procure advice 
and guidance in our difficulties, are all parts of those talents 
which God has committed to our care. Be they five or be they 
two, they are to be doubled with good usury in the salvation 
of others. What will it be, if they are found in the end to have 
been tied up in a napkin, and buried in the earth ? Shall we 
not have to answer and answer strictly for each and all of 
them? And if we are then compelled to admit, that such 
instructions were hardly listened to, our books seldom opened, 
those enlightened persons never consulted, what account are we 
preparing to render 1 Especially if, through this neglect of ours, 
souls are lost which, had we been duly qualified, we might 
have saved, and if the just expectations of the Church of Christ 
from us are disappointed 1 Again, reflect what a distinction 
and privilege it is to have the means of dedicating ourselves to 
learning. How many aspire in vain after the opportunities 
we possess of cultivating our minds, and qualifying ourselves 
for instructing others to salvation 1 How many are condemned 
by their circumstances to mean employments, who would 


willingly, and with better qualifications than we, apply them 
selves to what we so recklessly neglect, and make a worthy 
use of the opportunities which we squander ? Shall we not 
have to give a severe account of this our unwarrantable abuse 
of such favours ? Further consider, what a wretched life that 
of a college must be, when it is not supported by the love of 
application, and a true and zealous spirit of diligence. How 
irksome must be the time ; how heavy the hours of unwilling 
study ; how unsatisfactory, to say no worse, the day, when looked 
back upon at evening ; how blank the prospect of the time yet 
before us ! But how quickly, and how happily, does the time 
pass, how cheerful and contented is the life, when a taste for 
good books and a thirst for wholesome learning make those 
seem too short that are spent in ardent study ! 

2. Reflect how this love of application in ecclesiastics is not a 
quality to be acquired merely for the period of their college course, 
but one which ought to continue throughout the good priest s life. 
But the foundation of it must be laid here. In the first place, 
reflect how exceedingly foolish, not to say evil, it is to imagine 
that the season for application ceases with our student life. 
Every species of knowledge expires, if not kept alive and 
renewed by unceasing application ; and with whatever fitness 
and preparation we may enter on the active discharge of 
missionary duties, we shall soon become ignorant again, and in 
want of a new education, if we neglect, even for a short time, 
the practice of diligent application. A very few years of disuse 
will cancel all the labours and pains of our training, and 
render it of little or no value. Moreover, when we have 
finished our course, what have we learnt 1 At most, the way 
to apply ! There are manifold more things to be learnt still, 
than we have acquired; and what is more important, every 
branch of even sacred science, particularly controversial learning, 
makes daily strides, w T hich soon leave us behind, if we relax our 
.exertions to keep up with them. And is it not the duty of 
every zealous pastor to lose no advantage which can be drawn 
from such changes, for the guidance of those committed to his 
charge 1 Again, what can the priest do, who has no habits of 
application, but devote himself to secular employments, or give 
himself up to company and dissipation, or by his listlessness 


leave himself open to temptations, and to foolish desires and 
speculations ? In the second place, observe how experience has 
proved, that a habit of diligence in study is never found where 
it has not grown up during the college course. If not acquired 
while everything is directed to nourish, to encourage, and to aid 
it, what hopes can there be that it will be formed when there 
is no special institution to favour it, and no regular laws nor 
good opportunities to assist it ? 

3. Resolutions and affections. Firmly propose to yourself to 
draw every profit from the many advantages your present situa 
tion offers you of applying diligently to study ; and say, " Oh, 
my bountiftil Lord, Thou hast placed me where it is in my 
power to furnish my mind with those ornaments of sound 
learning, which are at once the ornament and the armour of 
Thy priests. Inspire me with a diligent and teachable heart, 
excite in me an ardour for holy science, make me unwearied in 
seeking opportunities of improvement, teach me the value of 
time, and give me a deep and awful sense of the responsibility I 
incur by neglecting now to lay in a store of learning for future 
work. Make these feelings so habitual to me here, that they 
may influence my conduct hereafter, and remain with me 
amidst the most active duties of my calling." Then address 
yourself to our glorious patron, S. Thomas of Canterbury. 
"Most blessed martyr under whose patronage I am here 
engaged in preparing myself for that ministry whereof thou 
wast so bright an ornament obtain the blessing of God upon 
my studies and labours here, that they may be profitable to 
myself and others. Obtain for us a diligence in the pursuit of 
true knowledge ; that so, duly qualified, we may go forth from 
this our shelter under thy protection, worthy of thee, and of 
this, our dear college, which glories in its honour and reverence 
for thee. May we all reflect an honour upon it, and through 
it, upon thy patronage." 


fHontfj, JFourtfj 
MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. In what true holiness consists. 

1. Reflect how easily we are misled by the erroneous applica 
tion of words. We have applied the term holy, and saint, to 
those who have been distinguished by supernatural testimonies 
and proofs of this quality in them, till we are in danger of con 
sidering holiness as the prerogative of a few rather than the 
calling of all. Hence, if a preacher or a guide tells us we must 
become saints, we imagine he is extravagant, and would have us 
aim at an impossibility. "We ask " Do you expect me to work 
miracles, or perform wonderful austerities 1 " We even say often : 
" I have no ambition to be a saint ; I shall be quite content to 
be saved," as though these were not identical. But in the 
beginning of the Church it was not so. All followers of Christ 
were called Saints ; " the Saints " was a distinctive appellation 
of Christians ; and thus they were reminded of the obligation 
under which all true Christians live, of being or becoming 
saints, holy men, with lives entirely dedicated to God. It 
was not expected of all of them that they should raise the 
dead to life, or perform other wonderful works ; yet all were 
expected to walk worthy of their title, and of the calling which 
it implied. Let us therefore start from this principle, that the 
duty of holiness is the ordinary duty of every Christian, and 
we shall be disabused of our erroneous notions. We shall see 
that a man may be as well a saint at the counter or workshop 
as at the altar, in the metropolis as in the desert, at home as in 
a monastery, in a college as in a hermitage. It will be seen 
that one may be a saint by the practice of the meanest duties 
as much as by the performance of the more striking acts of 
virtue ; by modest, recollected prayer, as easily as by ecstatic 
contemplation ; by labouring at humble employments as much 
as by discharging the sublimest functions of the ecclesiastical 
state. We shall discover that sanctity is not a, profession, but 
a duty ; not a privilege, but an obligation ; not dependent upon 
particular acts or functions, but attainable through the most 
ordinary means. We shall see how every action of the day is 
an instrument of sanctification, and that if all were performed 


with a proper end, with a true godly spirit, with diligence, 
resignation, and charity, the sum of them all is holiness ; that 
holiness after which we are all called to aspire. 

2. Reflect how clearly and strongly God has been pleased 
to convince us of this important truth, in the persons of 
those whom He most loved oh earth. The dear and ever- 
blessed Yirgin Mary was predestined to be of all pure crea 
tures the richest in heavenly perfections, and the nearest to 
God in sublime virtue. Yet she lived always in the greatest 
privacy, without a single brilliant action to distinguish her; 
without, as far as we know of her, any extraordinary outward 
display of her virtue. " Omnis gloria filice Regis ab intus." 
There, in that interior kingdom, she was beyond all others ; 
there was her sublime sanctification. The same may be said of 
blessed St. Joseph, the true pattern of the humble Christian, 
who does not even appear to have been reserved to witness the 
glorious career of his foster-son, but slept in the Lord, an 
humble artizan, yet rich in grace, in virtue, and holiness. But 
what shall we say of Jesus Himself, who gave three scanty 
years to the course of His glorious public life, wherein He 
wrought signs and wonders, and founded His church ; but who 
devoted thirty to the practice of obscure virtue, so teaching us 
that the perfection of holiness might be attained and practised 
in the labours of a despised and mean employment, as well as 
in the most public and noted acts ? For who can doubt that 
His holiness and perfection were as transcendent during those 
thirty years as afterwards in those three? But who shall 
measure the ardent love of God which burned in the hearts of 
Joseph, of Mary, of Jesus, during all that space ? Who 
shall understand their devotion of heart, their dedication of 
their whole selves to God, their resignation, meekness, and 
patience in their many trials, their charity for all, the accu 
mulation of their virtues, as well as their assiduity in every 
domestic, every social, every religious duty 1 Here then 
consists true holiness, here is the sanctity to which I am 
called, at which I am to aim by a diligent discharge of every duty 
of my state, distinguishing them at the same time by great 
interior perfection, by purity of intention, by conformity to the 
holy will of God, by constant recollection, by often turning my 


thoughts to Him, and by making His glory, obedience to His 
law, and my own salvation the great objects and ends of all that 
I do. 

3. Resolutions. " Such then shall be my rule and principal 
aim in all my actions. I will consider them as so many offices 
towards God, which, however mean and inconsiderable in 
themselves, may be sanctified and ennobled by being performed 
for Him, in union with those of my dear Saviour, and with 
His adorable passion and death. In this manner, therefore, 
O my God ! I venture to offer and consecrate them to Thee, 
from henceforth and for ever. My body, my soul, my thoughts, 
my words, my actions, my prayers and studies, my meals and 
recreations, my sickness and health, my pleasures and pains, 
my afflictions and comforts, my entire being and self, I give or 
rather restore to Thee, to be bound over, for ever, entirely and 
unreservedly to Thy service, that all their operations may 
begin ever from Thee, and by Thee begun, may be ended. 
Such, O gracious Lord, is my part of the engagement ; let 
Thine be to bless these resolutions, and to complete them, by 
bestowing on me those virtues which must accompany this 
dedication to make it worth anything in Thy sight : that spirit 
of recollection and union with Thee, that walking ever in Thy 
presence, that conformity in all things to Thy adorable dispen 
sations, and still more that ardent love of Thyself which can 
alone sanctify my poor worthless actions in Thy sight." 

, Jmirtfj 
LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. Its beauty. [Its repose.] 

1. Reflect how God, when He would describe, in a manner 
suited to our poor capacities, the splendour and beauty of His 
heavenly kingdom prepared for us, has condescended to draw 
His imagery from things visible and appreciable by our senses. 
Let us, therefore, imagine to ourselves a most delightful 
country, from which all that can offend, or ever so slightly 
annoy, is carefully excluded, and wherein are collected all 
possible goods. There shall be no alternation of day or night ; 


because there shall be no alternation of toil and repose ; there 
shall be no decay of winter, and no scorching of summer ; but 
spring and autumn shall blend their charms into one temperate 
season, wherein fruits and flowers shall bloom and ripen on every 
plant of that Paradise. The face of heaven shall be always 
serene, the appearance of earth ever most charming ; each step 
shall present a variety, yet every variety shall be equally 
beautiful. The sun shall so shine as to be far brighter than 
the most brilliant noontide amongst us, yet so as never to 
deprive us of the spectacle of the heavens bespangled with its 
stars. All living things shall appear in their greatest beauty, 
and shall live in peace and harmony. Now, after we shall have 
conceived or imagined all this and more, we shall probably 
not have come at all near to a true representation of that 
earthly paradise in which God first placed man. And what 
proportion can there possibly be between the place created for 
his trial and that prepared for his reward, between his battle 
field and the palace of victory 1 No to have so much as a 
faint and remote idea of this blessed place, we must so conceive 
it that the sun is but as the face of one of its angels (Apoc. x. 1), or 
as the garments of one of its saints, and the stars but as gems on 
their diadems (xiii.), and the rainbow but as a glory round 
their heads : (xi.), where, in short, whatever is most splendid and 
beautiful here below takes the place of common objects ; so that 
we must imagine the glory of that place as transcending that of 
the sun, moon, and stars, even as these excel the mere 
metals and stones, the materials of human art. Now, whose 
imagination will reach this height? Whose thoughts will 
allow him to tread upon the sun and heavenly bodies as the 
pavement under his feet, and build up a fabric of glory com 
posed of materials proportionally, that is, incomparably, more 
splendid? Hence, when Holy Writ condescends to describe 
heaven to us as a city, it tells us how those precious stones 
which on earth, being found only of small size, are used to 
adorn the crowns of kings rubies, emeralds, diamonds, are 
there used as common foundation-stones for the outward wall. 
No material of the heavenly Jerusalem is of meaner quality 
than gold, and the very gates are represented as each of one pearl 
or precious gem. Such are the assistances to our conceptions 


which the word of God proposes, that from them we may gain 
some faint image or picture of the celestial courts. Again, we 
are told that this blessed place is as a bride decked out for her 
spouse ; that is, full of loveliness, and most richly adorned with 
all that is most precious. 

2. Reflect how inadequate all such representations of the 
beauty of heaven must be, because they only aim at reaching 
the outward appearances, that is, the place merely in which the 
joys of God are tasted ; whereas the beauty and glory of heaven 
truly consist in those who occupy it. It is a place in which all 
is perfect. There is neither old age, nor sickness, nor defor 
mity, nor decrepitude, nor anything that can hurt or displease 
the senses; but all is beautiful beyond earthly imagination. 
We shall be in the company of myriads of bright and happy 
beings ; angels whose pure nature has never suffered a taint, 
but is yet fair as it came from the hand of God. Mary, 
undefilecl by sin, and beautiful as the lily of the field, with all 
the beauty of Saron and Carmel ; saints in whom the original 
transgression has been fully repaired, worthy to see the Lamb face 
to face, and perfect in all comeliness. Among these countless 
multitudes we shall range for eternity without meeting one in 
whom is any unfitness for that blessed place, or who does not seem 
worthy to be alone its possessor. The souls of each will appear 
fairer and more worthy of admiration, than all the charming 
and delightful things of earth united. And, after all, they are 
only the accessories, the mere additional ornament of this 
heavenly paradise. The Lamb is its lamp, excluding all ne 
cessity of sun, and moon, and stars. The Lamb, "slain from the 
foundation of the world," will be the centre of its charms, which, 
will be seen upon all the rest as merely reflected. What then 
must Himself be ? What a depth of indescribable loveliness ! 
Who shall conceive the smallest portion of that radiant beauty 
which dwells in any one of His adorable wounds, those foun 
tains of our salvation 1 Never through all eternity will the 
eyes of those whom He has redeemed be wearied or satiated 
with gazing upon them. It will be as a perpetual feast to their 
souls, renewing their appetite, at the same time that it fills 
their entire capacity. Who shall conceive the infinite beauty 
of the throne of God, who, though He dwells in light inacces- 


sible, yet allows so much of His loveliness to be seen as to 
transport the blessed with infinite delight, and form the 
essence of their happiness through all eternity? What a 
spectacle must His attributes, seen in all their splendour, 
present to the contemplation of His saints ! What an abyss of 
uncreated beauty must that be which can be gazed into for 
endless ages without weariness or satiety ; nay, with an ever 
growing manifestation of its perfections ! 

3. Affections. " Quam dilecta tab&rnacula tua, Domine 
virtutum : concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini!" 
Yes, how lovely indeed are Thy tabernacles ! how vile and 
contemptible, God ! does all the beauty of earth appear, after 
my thoughts have dwelt for a short time upon Thee ! Fading 
and perishable, stained with a thousand defects and imperfec 
tions, what power can it have to fix our affections and ensnare 
our admiration 1 No, wretched indeed and paltry are they, and 
unworthy of a thought. But heaven, O thou blessed land ! 
only place truly deserving of my affections, after thee will I 
sigh, after thee will I long; on thy delights I will meditate, in 
the thought of thy refreshment and beauty I will find cheering 
comfort and hope ; and my wistful eyes shall ever strain after 
the fulness of thy enjoyments. Be to me what the image of 
home is to the worn-out mariner when tossed upon the deep ; 
what the picture of his native country is to the exile on a 
solitary shore, the beginning of all my joy, the delight of my 
thoughts, the charmer of my solitude, the comforter of my 
sorrows. In the morning I will take the wings of the dove 
and fly in spirit to thee ; in the evening I will close my eyes 
with the vision of thee, the vision of peace, the true Jerusalem. 
My spirit and heart shall live in thee, even now; Oh ! " quando 
veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei ? " 

Efjivtr fHontfj, JFouvtfj EHctfc. ucstfag. 
PERSONAL VIRTUES. On Mortification. [Self-denial.] 

1. Reflect how mortification is the natural consequence and 
fruit of self-denial, which, being an interior virtue, is carried 


into effect and brought to a practical use by mortification. St. 
Paul defines it by the expression, " to mortify the deeds of the 
flesh ; " that is, to slay and destroy its concupiscences by deny 
ing ourselves all that ministers to them, and keeps them alive. 
Our passions all feed upon gratifications, sometimes guilty, 
sometimes comparatively innocent j and while every one has its 
own particular nourishment, they act as mutual incentives one 
to another. Thus intemperance is fed by the indulgence of 
appetite, and intemperance itself is the great minister to im 
purity. This again is nourished by curiosity and the too great 
gratification of the senses ; pride is strengthened in us by our 
willingness to listen to praises given to us of others, even when 
deserved. Every other evil propensity of our nature has a like 
stimulus acting through the bodily sense ; and it is the primary 
duty of mortification to quench and destroy it in us. Thus, for 
instance, if I put no restraint upon my natural and harmless 
appetites at meals, may I not fear the consequences described 
in Holy "Writ : " fncrassatus est dilectus et re calcitravit :" or 
again : " the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose to 
play," that is to worship idols. A habit of indulgence may 
lead to intemperance, and intemperance will lead to carnal 
desires. The shortest way to stifle this hateful progeny in the 
very beginning must be to check and restrain all unnecessary 
indulgence. And this is mortification. Do my senses easily 
stray after evil objects that excite concupiscences 1 Should I 
not then keep them in close custody, when there is danger, 
by not even allowing them to range over innocent objects ? 
Am I eager to learn what has been said of me, in the hopes 
that my vanity will be flattered 1 I ought to refrain from 
this curiosity of the ears on every occasion. Does my tongue 
easily slip into offences, when speaking of others 1 Why not 
avoid the topic completely, except when I know that I am sure 
to speak well of them ? These are all acts of sound and useful 
mortification, which will prevent much internal mischief, and 
save us much serious trouble. They will be the most cheering 
proofs, as well as the best fruits of self-denial, or the control 
over our irregular affections. But mortification must extend to 
the interior as well as the senses. We can repress dangerous 
thoughts, long before they come to a head and threaten abso- 


lute rebellion against God and His holy law. We can banish 
all foolish and irregular though not positively wicked desires 
and speculations, which do the mind much harm, by laying it 
open to its real enemies. "We can keep a strong and vigilant 
restraint upon our inward emotions while yet harmless ; and 
this will make it easy for us to keep them down when they 
have become evil. Such is the mortified spirit which has ever 
distinguished the saints and all true servants of God ; they have 
ever kept the bridle upon every inclination, outward and 
inward, pulling them in long before they reached the brink 
of evil. 

2. Reflect how this manifold practice of mortification is of 
its own nature painful and disagreeable, and consequently 
requires great encouragement. Our gracious God has there 
fore been careful to provide it for us. For, first, our divine 
model, Jesus Christ, was pleased for this purpose to exercise 
this virtue, as all others, in its perfection. Impeccable as He 
was, and exempt from every failing internal as well as external, 
needing, therefore, no mortification for Himself, yet He was 
pleased to exercise it for our sakes. He had no irregular incli 
nations to combat, no struggles of inordinate desires for domi 
nion to repress, yet He denied Himself every ordinary comfort, 
and lived as though He needed to maintain a state of unceasing 
warfare against Himself. He chose a life of hardship and 
poverty, of pain and privation, of crosses and afflictions, eveiy 
one of which He could have avoided, that we might prefer 
these sufferings as our portion, especially after we have so often 
sinned. He gave the same lot to His chosen apostles, and 
moreover inspired them with the desire of adding to their 
sufferings by voluntary mortification. St. Paul again and 
again assures us that such was his practice ; he tells us among 
other things, that he fought not as one striking the air, " but 
that he chastised his body and reduced it to subjection/ And 
yet all the while he was engaged in the sublimest affairs of 
the Apostolic ministry. The same have innumerable others 
done : not merely such as, like myself, had need of expiating 
former transgressions, but those who have, throughout their 
lives, been most conspicuous for innocence and purity of soul. 
Either, therefore, as a reparation for past offences, or as a pre- 


servation from future dangers, this practice of mortification 
becomes all who aspire after true virtue. What need, what 
real need, then, must not I have of it, on both these grounds 1 

3. Eesolutions. "But this, O my God ! is one of the duties 
which especially requires Thy merciful assistance to practise it. 
Even when our desires are most fervent, and our efforts most 
sincere, our flesh is weak, and our constitution frail; and 
nature revolts against that treatment which we deserve, and 
which we should justly inflict upon ourselves. But in Thee 
who strengthenest me I can do all things ; Thy grace is suffi 
cient for me. Give me then, I pray Thee, Thy good and 
willing spirit, that I may toil and strive to bring the flesh 
under proper subjection to the spirit. May a clay never pass 
over, at the close whereof I cannot say .that I have in some way 
or other checked my evil inclinations by an act of mortification, 
whether inflicted by others, or voluntarily suffered. Make 
this practice habitual to me, and in spite of its pain, make it 
easy.. Make me find peace and vigour of spirit in proportion 
as the inordinancies of my sinful nature are repressed and 
brought low." 

Cfjtrfc iHontfj, Jtmrtfj SSfceft. 

and the Publican. S. Luke xvm. 

Preparation as in the reflections themselves; the scene 

1. Reflect upon the beautiful parable which our Blessed 
Saviour spoke to some who trusted in themselves as just, and 
despised others. He gives us the history of two persons who 
came, at the same time, to the temple to pray. Let us follow 
first the one and then the other. The one is a Pharisee, of 
that class of men who affected extraordinary virtue and piety. 
See how he draws near to the temple ; his face disfigured by 
long fasting, his phylacteries larger than those of the common 
sort, his head erect, as not fearing the gaze of men, his eye 
lofty and commanding ! As he passes on towards the place of 
prayer, the people make way for him, and look up at him with 


great respect as a privileged being : they would be glad if lie 
would but take charge of their petitions ; he surely must be 
heard ! He enters the temple with the air of a man who goes 
in by right ; as a privy-councillor would walk into the palace ; 
as a favourite would enter into the apartments of his King, easy 
and confident, while others envy him his distinction. See with 
what reverence they look at him, as, stretching forth his hands, 
and raising up his eyes towards heaven, he begins his address ! 
It is short, but pronounced with a manner full of security and 
satisfaction. Perhaps one of his gestures as he muttered his 
prayer they did not exactly comprehend. He turned at its 
conclusion, with an expression and motion of scorn and con 
tempt towards a poor obscure wretch, who, doubtless, was a 
great sinner, and unworthy to pray in the same place with so 
holy a man. Perhaps this intrusion excited his just indigna 
tion. See with what complacency he turns away and departs, 
amidst the jealous whispers of the crowd. What, then, was 
the important supplication which brought him to the temple 1 
It was this : " God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the 
rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this 
publican. I fast twice in the week ; I give tithes of all I 
possess." Pride embodied in a prayer ! Pride the most arro 
gant, joined to presumption, injustice, and calumny : this is 
what he came solemnly to utter in the very presence of his 
God ! And why 1 Because out of the abundance of his heart 
his mouth spoke. His heart was full of pride, and so could 
speak nothing else. Whatever inordinate affection rules over 
our souls at other times will intrude upon it in time of prayer ; 
and, if conscious and unchecked, destroy all its value. What 
a lesson have we here, never to allow any such to rule or obtain 
ascendancy over us, lest it come at length to insult God, as did 
the Pharisee s pride, face to face. What did he obtain by his 
prayer ? Just what he asked in it nothing ! But at least he 
sang a hymn of gratitude to God, and as such his address would 
be received ? No ; for he only chanted his own praises ; and 
by his intolerable preference of himself to other men, and to 
his poor neighbour in particular, he closed the gates of heaven 
against his own worthless words. 

2. Let us now turn to the other suppliant. He draws nigh 



with a silent step, and downcast look : he shuns the notice of 
others ; chooses the most retired corner, stands afar off. He 
prays with eyes bent upon the ground, beating his breast with 
great expression of sorrow. The words which he uttered 
must have been very few; his prayer was much shorter than that 
of the Pharisee, who turns towards him with such contempt. 
If any consider him worth notice, or waste a thought on him, it 
will be only to say that "they would not give much for his 
prayer." And what was it 1 Only these few simple words : 
" O God, be merciful to me a sinner ! " How few indeed the 
words, but how full of meaning and of grace ! For Jesus 
Himself assures us that they were enough to work his justifica 
tion before God ! But see what a depth of humility, what 
earnestness, what sincere contrition, what a strong confidence in 
God s mercy is contained in this short appeal ! Could he have 
said more in as brief a phrase ? Could he have exemplified the 
qualities of efficacious prayer in a smaller number of words "? 
Or could he have done it as well in a much larger 1 How 
completely did he in two words, place himself in his proper 
relation with God, he the sinner, God the merciful ! How 
perfectly did he show by his very posture and action that he 
believed the things which he said, and so prove his prayer to 
be sincere ! How did his earnest beating of his breast not as 
we are apt to do, by mere form but with a sincerity worthy of 
being noticed in the gospel narrative, prove the depth of his 
sorrow : how did his downcast looks, and retired station evince 
his humility ! The necessary result of such prayer is recorded 
by our Blessed Redeemer : "I say to you, this man went down 
into his house justified rather than the other." If the other 
had asked for nothing, this one asked for much ; he asked for 
everything that was worth having, and he obtained it. Both 
took the same trouble, both occupied nearly the same time ; 
both, like Cain and Abel, made their offerings together ; and, 
like them, they were judged by the inward disposition of their 
hearts. The proud and haughty was rejected; to the humble 
and contrite grace was given. 

3. Affections and resolutions. " See, my soul, how easy and 
simple a thing it is to pray well, to pray so as to be heard ! 
How few and how simple words can find their way to heaven, 


provided they be winged by humble earnestness and loving 
repentance. God, be merciful to me a sinner ! How 
constantly and how fervently ought this to be on my lips and 
in my heart ! How well suited is it to me ! How specially 
commended and recorded for my use ! Let me banish far from 
my heart all pride and self-sufficiency, all self-trust, all con 
tempt for others, when I come before God in prayer. I know 
not others, but I know myself ; I know my own sinfulness, my 
many iniquities and foul offences against a God whose mercies 
to me have been numberless. I approach Him, when I pray, 
as one heavily laden, oppressed, overwhelmed with a load of 
insupportable misery ; I draw near to Him, who alone can 
relieve me, alone can give me rest. I come to Thee, therefore, 
O my God, in the condition of the publican ; let my prayer be 
such as his, and its effect be the same. May I never come into 
Thy holy place without asking Thy forgiveness for my past 
transgressions, and for my daily offences. Let me each time 
have a fresh token of comfort that Thou hast heard and hast 
forgiven me." 

INTERIOR SINS AND DANGERS. On Vain-glory (Pride). 

1. Reflect how truly this passion has received, even among 
men, its proper name ; for even when not wishing to treat it 
severely, they call it vanity or vain-glory. Common sense and 
reason proclaim that it is a foolish and empty thing. In truth, 
it consists in an inordinate love of the praise and approbation 
of men. It makes us love being much in their mouths, and 
too often induces us to lose sight of God s good pleasure and 
the higher motives which His law and love suggest and indeed 
require. It makes the acquisition of worthless praise from 
men the motive and end of our otherwise virtuous actions. 
The folly of such conduct is almost self-evident. For what 
does this praise of men confer upon us 1 What solid good 
does it procure us? Who are they who pronounce the 
judgment 1 Frail men, unwise men, sinful men, often repro- 

Q 2 


bate men, whose very judgment in favour of any cause ought 
to be a presumption against it ; whose good opinion ought to 
make us fear that we must have acted wrongly ; at any rate, 
who are as often, or oftener, wrong than right. What satis 
faction can it give us to know that they praise us, or approve 
our actions] Even if their approval chanced to be well 
grounded, and conscience echoes them back to our souls, how 
long will their sound last 1 Just as long as their caprice 
permits; just till some other person or thing comes before 
them, and they choose to give that other the preference. Let 
us not imagine that men chronicle, or lay up in memory, the 
praises they have given us, to call them forth again. Those 
praises are the mere creatures of a whim, and pass away with 
the fancy of a moment. Reflect, further, of what service 
would those who praise you be in anything that affected your 
interest in a more serious way ] What would become of their 
empty praise in a time of distress 1 Would any one of them 
offer you real assistance 1 Would they not give you cold looks 
if you asked it ? In affliction, would one of them go three 
steps out of his way to comfort you 1 ? In doubts and difficulties, 
would they spend their time upon you, in counsel and help ? 
How quickly would you then discover the truth of that 
scripture " Etenim universa vanitas omnis homo vivejis" 
Yery quickly would you see how slight a proof of friendship, 
or of any true feeling of kindness, is the praise or so-called 
esteem of man ! Still more, should the current of favour turn, 
and a few influential persons lead the way in decrying you, is 
it not probable that all would join the cry, and be as earnest in 
speaking ill of you as they had before been in extolling you ? 
And is it after the applause of such beings that we run 1 is it 
to gain it that we toil 1 is it the loss of this that makes us 
uneasy ? For, to the vainglorious, if praise be the supreme 
good, the scoffs and censures they must sometimes encounter 
are so many whips of scorpions that torture their souls. 
Foolish that we are, to run after such shadows, and place our 
joy in such absolute vanities ! 

2. Reflect how this vainglory is in effect doing our works 
that they may be seen by men, which our blessed Saviour so 
severely reproved in the Pharisees. No other sin, not even 


carnal sins, drew from His meek lips such indignant rebukes as 
this. He showed a particular hatred to it ; and that for two 
reasons. First, it robs God of His due ; secondly, it deprives 
good acts of their merit. God is the true end of man, and of 
all his actions. His approval and reward are the objects at 
which man is bound to aim, and every deviation from this 
aim, every obliquity of look by which he regards meaner pur 
poses, is so far an abandonment of God as his only good, and a 
disparagement of His divine claims. And so does the vain 
man act, so does he turn away from his Maker, while he runs 
after the creature, and prefers the breath of man " in whom 
there is no salvation," to the judgment of God. In addition to 
this, it ruins all the good he undertakes to do. For, putting 
aside the frightful case of such as plunge into evil to obtain 
applause from the wicked, those actions which the vainglorious 
man performs to gain public esteem, his charities, for instance, 
his prayers, his austerities, are utterly valueless ; so that he 
has had all the trouble and pain of them without any profit ! 
Can folly be greater 1 Nor this only ; he actually offends and 
outrages God by those very actions which, had he performed 
them with a pure motive, might have been highly meritorious. 
The most favourable sentence which he can hope for is that 
denial of merit and recompense pronounced by Jesus : " Amen 
dico vobis, quia jam receperunt mercedem suam" But, in 
addition to this, may even be incurred the woes and curses 
uttered against the hypocrites. Consider then the anguish, 
remorse, and torments of a soul, at the last hour, on looking 
back upon a long life, spent without gross irregularities, yet 
utterly thrown away, barren of all fruit, because vanity, human 
applause, has been the spring and leading motive of all its 
actions. To see so much fair fruit eaten into by this mean 
canker-worm, tainted and corrupted, and worthless, from this 
withering blight 1 And to lind, moreover, how utterly 
abandoned it now finds itself by this world it has served, how 
little benefit it now derives from its praises, how severe and 
changeless are the judgments of God, contrasted with the fleet 
ing applause of man ! Alas, alas ! what comfort shall I then 
derive from such a vain support ! 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " What matters it then to 


me what men shall say of me here below, by whose judgments. 
I shall not have to be tried at the last clay, and whose approval 
can give me no comfort in my dying hour 1 I will not run 
after such worthless things. But upon Thee, my God, and dread 
Judge, my eyes shall ever be turned ; and, weighing the value- 
of all I do by the weight it will have in Thy scales, I will do 
my works in secret, for Thee alone, who seest in secret ; for Thou 
alone art my reward exceeding great. I, who know my own 
heart, how should I blush and be confounded when men 
foolishly praise me ! How should I turn to Thee, who standest 
by, sole witness of my inner consciousness, and hide my face- 
and humble myself to think how different Thou boldest me 
from what men think me, and how differently they would speak 
if they knew me as Thou dost ! They can but pronounce on 
outward actions, while Thou dost penetrate the reins and heart 
with Thy searching eye. In what value, then, can I hold their 
esteem, when Thou art standing by to condemn it 1 Oh, cure 
my heart of this folly ; let it no more seek the praise of men, 
but solidly fix itself on Thee, and look for no other reward than 
Thee : * Non alia merces nisi Tu Domine. " 

fHontfj, jFourtfj OEcdt. Jtttag. 
THE PASSION. CALVARY. Jesus addresses His Mother. 

1. Reflect on the completeness of that abandonment which- 
was determined by the inexorable justice of God for His own 
well-beloved Son. How filled to the brim was the chalice of 
His bitter sorrows, when even His dear and blessed mother, 
instead of being to Him, as she had hitherto been, a source of 
comfort and happiness, was destined to increase the sufferings 
and abandonment of His last hour. If there could be a tie 
between Him and earth which His heart might continue to 
cherish, it was His love for her who had borne Him, and had 
loved Him ever since with a love exceeding that of any other 
created being. If all the world had abandoned Him, she had 
remained; if the greater part of the bystanders sympathized 
little, or even rejoiced in His sufferings, she partook of them 


with a mother s heart of compassion ; she alone endured more 
than all on earth, Himself alone excepted. If few would feel 
His loss, to her it would be irreparable. That mother, then, 
He sees at the foot of His cross, overwhelmed with anguish and 
woe unspeakable. He who reads the interior of His blessed 
mother s soul, knows what is to her the utter worthlessness of 
all on earth when He shall be withdrawn from it. What an 
additional pang to His sacred Heart to witness her inconsolable 
grief, and that incomparable distress which made her sorrow 
great and bitter as the salt sea : magnet est ut mare contritio tua. 
What an accumulation of grief to His overwhelmed soul, to 
leave her thus alone, in fulfilment of the eternal Father s will ! 
How did their looks and their hearts meet at that hour ! How 
was all the affection of both, if possible, renewed ; and how did 
they melt into one loving thought in the fierce furnace of their 
common sufferings ! How did Mary remember the happy days 
when He was an infant in her bosom, and when she heard His 
Divine words, sitting at their homely meal and amid the daily 
occupations of Nazareth ! and how did Jesus remember the 
cherishing love with which this tenderest of mothers had 
nursed and caressed Him ! Here was, indeed, depth calling 
upon depth, one surpassing, superhuman grief upon another. 
Still Jesus cannot leave this earth without making some pro 
vision for the future welfare of the loving mother who had 
taken care of Him for thirty years. Gladly would He take 
her with Him into His glory, and bear her as the first present 
of earth to heaven. But this consolation shall not be ; for He 
would then have expired with one pang less than was compat 
ible with the stern decrees of justice. No ; He must have the 
pain of knowing, as He expires, that He is leaving her whom 
He loves beyond all, to loneliness and straitness and to the care 
of others. And though the support of her lonely life be His 
own beloved disciple, yet it is indeed a sad exchange for her to 
have the disciple in place of the Master, the creature for the 
Creator, the son of Zebedee instead of the Son of God. 

2. Consider the blessed words which Jesus spoke ; for thou 
hast a deep interest therein. First, looking down from His 
cross on the mother who stood beneath it, He said, referring to 
John, "Woman, behold thy son;" then to John, " Behold thy 


mother." Here was a new relationship established, wherein it 
was intended that we should all have a part. For, as the 
Church of God has always believed, in John we were all repre 
sented ; and so Mary was made our mother, and we were made 
her children. But as this relationship will form, in due season, 
matter for its own meditation, let us keep our attention to what 
Jesus here did. Keenly then did He feel the distress and 
desolation of the exchange He was making, while He indicated 
to the already crushed heart of Mary, John for Himself ! But 
if to her heart the words necessarily brought such desolation, 
see, on the other hand, how lovingly they were addressed to 
us the while. Now, even in the depth of His afflictions, did 
He devise new blessings for us, and appointed new aids to our 
salvation. He bestowed on us this mother, this tender, loving 
mother, this compassionate and merciful mother, even while He 
was suffering the most excruciating torments for our sins and 
ingratitudes ! His death was drawing near ; He had given us 
Himself, He was just about to seal the donation by expiring ; 
another bequest still remained for Him to leave us, better, 
nobler, more valuable than anything else, after the gift of Him 
self. He had adopted us as His brethren in regard of His 
eternal Father ; He had made us co-heirs with Himself of the 
Kingdom of Heaven ; yet He would have our relationship to 
be even closer still, and willed us to be His brethren in respect 
to His dear mother, one family with Him, where our feelings 
can most easily be engaged in favour of our kindred. At the 
same time, who can refrain from admiring the steadfastness and 
fortitude of the heart of Jesus, thus discharging His duty as a 
Son, amidst the most agonizing torments of body, exhausted by 
His wounds, and oppressed in spirit by an unspeakable weight of 
woes. How amiable, how perfect is every line in the character 
of this our dear Master and Saviour, whether in life or death ! 
3. Affections. " And how shall we ever sufficiently thank 
Thee, dear Jesus, for having thus made Thine own sacrifice, no 
less than Thy loving mother s loss, our gain ? What a motive 
for gratitude to Thee and to her, to have found a place at such 
a moment in both those hearts, to have been considered worthy 
of mention upon Calvary, amidst the mutual sorrows of Son 
and Mother ! And here, surely, all the gain was mine. For 


she did but acquire in me a froward and undutiful and often 
rebellious child, whereas I obtained a tender and most watchful 
parent, who through life has been my patroness and kindest 
friend, ever making intercession for me most effectually with 
Thee. But let me never forget what this adoption cost Thy 
self. Never let me forget that to establish it Thou wert pleased 
to bring Mary to the foot of Thy cross, piercing her soul with a 
sharp sword of grief, which recoiled on Thine own, wounding 
deeply Thy filial heart ; that for three hours Thou didst allow 
Thy cruel torments to be aggravated by the sight of her inex 
pressible dolour, that so she might conceive us in sorrow and 
pain, and might thus have a stronger maternal interest in our 
salvation. Blessed be Jesus and Mary for so much love. 
Blessed above all, Thou, my dear Jesus, for whom no suffering 
seemed too much, which could give us any further blessing !" 

fHontlj, jTourtf; lccL Saturtag. 

SELF-EXAMINATION. Fervour and Thoughts of God daring 
the day. 

First make the monthly examination as usual ; then proceed 
to the particular examination, as follows : 

1. On a sense of the presence of God. I know that God is 
present everywhere, and therefore that I am ever present to 
Him. Whithersoever I go, wherever I am, He is there. Do 
I live as though practically convinced of this Divine presence ? 
Is my mind habitually subdued by the thought that He is the 
witness of all my actions ? Examine. 

When alone in the body, does my soul feel that it is not 
alone, but in the presence of One whom the angels are adoring, 
while I am almost heedless of His society 1 Is my heart ever 
conscious that it hath a secret witness of every desire, of every 
thought, one from whose penetrating eye nothing, however secret 
and hidden, can be hid 1 Am I deeply penetrated with the 
sense of His being my Judge, who will one day call me to 
account for all that I say, do, or think ? Examine. 

When secret temptations arise, does my thought instantly 


recur to God present before me 1 and is this motive sufficient to 
check the danger, and recall me to myself? If not, is not the 
sense of God s presence very weak within me ? Examine. 

In the performance of private duties, in secret application, in 
solitary prayer, in any other effort to serve God, am I content 
with the secret reward which His presence assures to me 1 Do I 
feel the same consolation as I should were the observation of 
men upon me ? Am I more remiss, less recollected, particularly 
in body, when I perform these or any other duties alone than 
when I do them in company of others ? Examine. 

Is the sense of God s presence a motive of constant cheerful 
ness and joy, as that of a kind parent is to an affectionate 
child ? Do I ever feel lonely and melancholy, when my fellow- 
creatures are not near me ; and if so, does the thought that I 
am in God s company, revive, comfort me, and fill me with 
delight 1 Examine. 

2. On turning to God during the day. Are all my actions a 
continued prayer, by being offered up at the beginning to God, 
and dedicated to His honour and glory ? Are they performed 
with that feeling of earnestness and devotion which ought to 
accompany every work that belongs to God 1 Examine. 

Do I, from time to time, and that very frequently, turn to 
God, to offer Him my heart, and renew my intentions ? Do I 
make frequent ejaculations of love and gratitude to Him ? Do 
I call upon Him earnestly for help, guidance, light? Ex 

In danger or temptation, do I not merely turn my thoughts 
towards Him, but pat up short yet fervent prayers, to obtain 
of Him strength and assistance ? When they are past, do I 
again return to thank Him for having aided and preserved me I 

When under trouble of mind, from injuries, insults, or bad 
opinions of men, do I humble myself before God, acknowledge 
myself a sinner, and resign myself to them for His sake? 

Do I promote these practices, and keep them constantly 
before my mind, by ever keeping the image of Christ crucified 
before my eyes, so as to read, study, and do all things else at 
the foot of the cross? And whenever it catches my sight, 


nake me feel a thrill of gratitude and love towards 

st thoughts at night, before closing my eyes, turned 

en I awake in the morning, does my heart turn 

bless and praise Him, and say, " Deus, Deus 

>,ce vigilo ; sitivit in Te anima mea ? " If I 

night, do my thoughts instinctively turn 

.11 i ^o I feel glad of an opportunity to bless 

xlim at t, r, when so few are engaged in giving 

Him honwj., ** Examine. 

What is my nt in. all these practices 1 Are they 

as yet irksome ""o I find them become easier as I 

proceed? Am I m than I used to be? Has there 

been any falling off, ^improvement of late, in the 

observance of these dutie; &*. vniine. 

When I come to prayer, do I feel the benefit of always being 
during the day in God s presence, and of having often thought 
of Him, and turned my thoughts towards Him 1 Examine. 

Then, according as you find you have been neglectful or 
observant in all these matters, say one of the following 
prayers : 

1 ipragcr for tfjc JFivst CTasc. 

O my God, Author of my being, Fountain of all my good,. 

Thou art ever with me, and I have not known Thee ! Vere 

Deus ^ in loco isto, et ego nesciebam. Thou art ever showering 

blesp on me, Thy very presence is to me a shadow of pro- 

t<v security against dangers, a source of comfort, and a 

hf encouragement ; yet I have neglected to take 

.ge of it, by my coldness and neglect. But from hence- 

, I will walk in Thy sight, in the simplicity of my heart. 

,ill ever place before me the image of Thy dear Son crucified 

jr me, and sit ever under His shadow, contemplating Him 

whom my soul loveth, in all my actions. Oh, strengthen my 

resolutions, my dear Lord, and let them not be so frail as they 

have been hitherto. 


& Stager for tfjc Second Case. 

Blessed be Thou, my God, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, 
that Thou hast assisted Thy poor worthless creature to think 
of Thee, and bless Thee, however imperfectly, from time to 
time. How could I do otherwise than keep Thee ever before 
my eyes, who art every moment giving me fresh proofs of Thy 
presence, by the multitude of graces and favours most undeserved, 
which Thou hast bestowed upon me 1 ? Blessed, therefore, for 
ever, be Thy holy name. But strengthen me, my God, and 
improve me, that I may serve Thee better every day, and 
nourish in me this knowledge of Thee, this sense of Thy 
glorious presence. 

jFourtlj fHontfj, jFtrst CTwfc. Suntrag. 
END OF MAN. His true end is to know God. 

1. Reflect that as we have seen the true end of man to be of 
necessity something raised far above the sphere of the noblest 
earthly pursuits and aims, this can be nothing short of God 
Himself. And, as knowledge must be the basis and ground 
work of every relation with beings out of ourselves, it follows 
that to know God is the first step in the attainment of the great 
end for which we were created. Here our first and most natural 
inquiry must be, what is it to know God 1 Is it to know Him 
comprehensively ; that is, so as to understand and measure the 
extent of His attributes and infinite perfections 1 Certainly 
not. The angels themselves cannot attain to this degree; and we 
here below should only lose our time and weary our souls with 
out profit, were we to make such a study the end of our lives. 
Is it to know Him abstractedly, by the contemplation and 
meditation in our souls of His greatness and other qualities, as 
a mere speculative knowledge 1 Of what advantage would such 
knowledge be to us, if it went 110 further ? What practical 
effect would it produce on us 1 For this knowledge of God is 
not the ultimate term in our end, but only the first step or 
groundwork of our efforts to reach it. We have, then, to know 

END OF MAN. 237 

God as He is with regard to ourselves ; that is, as our first 
beginning and our last end. We are ever to have a deep and 
practical conviction that we made not ourselves ; that He made 
us, and that we owe Him, therefore, everything, our very being 
itself, and have nothing whatever of our own but our sins and 
weaknesses. Moreover, AVC must ever remember that He has 
not resigned to us any part of this universal property, but has 
reserved all to Himself, so as to claim from us the application 
of all to the love and service of Himself. In this manner we 
understand what it is to know God as our last end ; that is, as. 
the object towards which all our thoughts, words, and actions 
are to be referred. Moreover, He is our last end, inasmuch as 
all reward must be expected and desired from Him alone, exclu 
sive of any wish of gratification from creatures ; and we must 
ever have the prospect and the desire to be one day united to 
Him completely and finally, as the ocean in which this our 
little drop of existence will and ought to be swallowed up. 
These considerations, this knowledge of God, would induce us 
to dedicate our service unreservedly to Him. There is a further 
knowledge of Him which will bring us to love Him above all 
things. We must therefore study to know God as our Sove 
reign Good, the essence of Good, the Sole Real Good ; and that, 
not merely in His nature, but in His treatment of us. So that 
the knowledge of God may be an intimate conviction and 
inward sense, influencing all the powers and faculties of our 
souls. His benefits and blessings must be ever before our eyes, 
and our souls must never forget what He has done for us. 

2. Reflect how this knowledge of God is to be acquired. 
First, it has pleased God to reveal Himself, and make His 
attributes known to us through Revelation. It is by this that 
we are made acquainted in particular with that watchful Pro 
vidence which is the united application of His principal 
attributes, His power, wisdom, and mercy, to each of us indi 
vidually. It is there that we learn the depth of His counsels, 
and the magnificence of His bounty. It is there that we know 
Him not merely as our Sovereign and as our Creator, but what is 
of even greater concern, as our Redeemer and most compassionate 
Lover. Then we may not fear to study and know Him in His 
works, great, and glorious, and omnipotent. But to know God 


truly, we must know Him in ourselves. Our own lives are the 
chronicles in which His mercifulness and kindness are most 
clearly registered ; our own hearts are the books wherein He is 
best described ; our own meditation the best philosophy wherein 
He can be studied. What a good, what a beneficent, what a most 
loving Being does He there manifest Himself to be ! How dif 
ferent from the God of books and of systems ! He seems to 
have thrown off, when near us, all those more awful qualities 
which are attributed to Him. "We can discover no symptom 
of the stern character of a judge which we are justly told He 
sometimes bears. We have read of Alfred in the poor man s 
cottage, treated by the inmates with familiarity ; we know how 
terrified they were upon the courtiers appearing, and their dis 
covering that it was a king with whom they had made so free. 
And so when we treat with God in our own interior, we cannot 
look at Him with fear ; and we are afterwards almost shocked 
at our want of awe and terror. No ; He seems to us so com 
pletely our friend, our watchful protector, our familiar com 
panion, that we cannot look upon Him but as an object of our 
affections. There, then, we should study to know God. For 
thus will the knowledge of Him be truly the basis of the com 
plete end of our being, by leading us to His service and love, and 
through these to our eternal happiness in Himself. How vain 
and foolish will all other knowledge appear to us when we have 
once become enamoured of this love ! How contemptible to 
measure the heavens and count the stars in comparison with the 
science of the soul, the knowledge of its first great Cause and 
last End ! 

Affections. " Noverim te, Deus meus" " May I truly know 
Thee, my Creator and my Sovereign Lord ! May Thy infinite 
perfections be the constant subject of my loving meditations. 
May I prefer to know Thee, to speak of Thee, to think of 
Thee, above all lofty discourse and profound speculation upon 
matters of human science. I cannot, indeed, pretend to ap 
proach to a comprehension of Thy infinite Majesty. But the 
more lowly and unpresuming my knowledge of Thee, the more 
pleasing it will be to Thee, and the more blessed and beneficial 
to my soul. But chiefly I will study to know Thee as Thou 
art to me ; ever good, ever gracious, ever full of compassion, 


of mercy and forgiveness. Blessed be Thou who hast given 
me this knowledge of Thee, who hast manifested Thyself to us, 
and who moreover hast raised our aim so high, as not merely 
to forgive us if we venture to search into Thy inscrutable 
excellence, but to make its contemplation our happiness and 
our end." 

jFourtfj fHontfj, jfirst 

LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the judgment we shall then make 
of earthly things. 

1. Reflect how death, as soon as it comes, will set us wonder 
fully right in our estimation of things. And first, as to what 
we now call goods, how shall I judge of them 1 Suppose that 
during my life, say a long life, I have been what is called 
fortunate ; that I have enjoyed good health, an excellent 
reputation, friendships, domestic peace, wealth, high station, 
dignity, and many other like blessings, and that I have set my 
affections upon them, and have valued them. Well, I should 
be naturally sorry to leave them, and yet they will then appear 
utterly worthless. A traveller in the wilderness dying for 
thirst would give all the rich merchandise that his camels can 
scarcely carry for one small cup of water ; had he such an offer 
and refused it, he would die, and. deserve to die. And so will one 
who has not prepared himself for death ; however dearly his 
heart clings to earthly goods, he will be most willing to part 
with them all for a few hours of time, of that time which he 
now squanders by the year, just as that merchant when in his 
native city would waste and scatter that precious water by 
jarfuls ! How cheap, then, must such a one hold those earthly 
things at that hour ! He will feel them slipping through his 
fingers like water, which in vain he would grasp in his hand. 
He feels that they are no longer his, that he has no further 
control or command over them. It will appear to him as 
though they had turned rebels against him, and abandoned 
him in his distress. Among some barbarous nations, it has 
been and still is the custom, when a rich or powerful man 


dies, to bury in his grave his arms, furniture, and even his 
horses and slaves, that so he may have their services in the 
other world. But I know that such ideas are mere delusions, 
and that " naked we came into the world and naked we must go 
out of it;" " nihil invenerunt viri divitiarum." I shall have- 
to leave all those things behind me, to appear without support 
or influence before the awful tribunal of God ! How mean 
and how worthless must those things appear, when we see that 
in that our great extremity they can give us no help ! And how 
valuable and precious a thing will that time then appear, which 
we have so shamefully mis-spent, when we find its price to be 
beyond the purchase of all earthly goods. But it would be 
well did the estimate we shall form of worldly things end with 
this contempt. It will be a more serious, yes, an awful con 
sideration, to see the heavy responsibility of these advantages, 
as we have considered them during life. We shall discover 
that we have been only stewards and administrators of them 
for God, and for the benefit of our souls and others . How 
great will now appear the obligations of our wealth towards 
Christ s poor and His church, of our abilities towards the 
salvation of men, our station towards God s law, by good ex- 
ample,of the deference and honour paid us towards the honour due 
to Him, by doing Him public homage and so influencing others. 
And alas ! how little all that we have done in this way will 
then appear ! How paltry, how insignificant to be placed in 
the balance against God s abundant gifts ! How little to be 
pleaded at the bar of inexorable justice ! How shall we wish that 
we could live our life over again, with our experience then ac 
quired, and with the sense of responsibility then forced in upon us ! 
Could a rich man die and instantly return to life, after having 
formed a just estimate of his wealth in that moment, methinks his 
first act on coming to life again would be to get rid of all his 
wealth by giving it to the first person he met that would be 
so foolish (in his estimation) as to take it off his hands. And 
what a struggle for a soul that now feels, on the one hand, the 
strongest attachment to its worldly goods, yet, again, their 
utter worthlessness. That soul would willingly abandon them 
with all their responsibilities, yet still clings to them in affec 
tion ! It curses them, yet cleaves to them abhors them, and 


yet loves them ; would forget them, yet they are uppermost 
Btill ! The heart of such a man is torn, divided, and fearfully 
convulsed by the conflict. 

2. Reflect what will be the judgment we shall then form of 
what we consider the evils of this life; such as afflictions, 
sorrows, pain. In the first place, how passing and momentary 
they will appear : how faint will be the remembrance of them ! 
Although our whole life may have been one of troubles and 
sufferings, it will be as though a few weeks only, or a few days, 
had been passed in them. Then, how light and insignificant ! Our 
illnesses and ailings, sicknesses and pains, which used to appear 
so grievous, and tempted us to be fretful and impatient, how 
unimportant will they then seem, in contrast with the realities 
of death that encompass us 011 every side ! What small 
account shall we make of the censure the world has passed upon 
us ! What little value shall we set upon its hard judgments 
and evil opinions ! Nay, if these have been incurred, through 
our fidelity to God and His holy law, through our contempt of 
the world, or our assiduity in the discharge of our duties, how 
welcome, how truly gratifying will the thoughts of them be. 
But in the second place, how useful will all such afflictions 
appear to us ! what a merciful dispensation on the part of God ! 
For then we shall understand how it is better to go to the house 
of mourning than to the house of feasting : what fruit and solid 
advantage we might have derived from these visitations, had 
we taken pains to profit by them. With what delight shall we 
then look back on whatever we have patiently endured for God s 
sake ; and how shall we rejoice in the thought of tribulation 
rather than in that of merriment, in the recollections of penitent 
tears more than in that of careless laughter. 

3. Affections. " death, true estimator of things, holder 
of the only righteous balance of earthly concerns, whereby 
alone we can justly price the goods and evils of our present 
condition, let me ever appeal to thy judgments while yet living, 
that they may not appear to one new and strange when at 
length they come. Let me often lay myself in thought upon 
my last bed of sickness, and meditate the judgment I shall 
there form on those things which now allure or dismay me. 
May the thought of death correct my false judgment, control my 


empty desires, repress my vain apprehensions. May I daily enact 
in my resolutions and opinions the scene of my latest hour ! But 
Thou, O God, in whose hands are life and death, do Thou teach 
me to make this judgment with practical effect. Open mine 
eyes to see the vanity and folly of man s ordinary estimate of 
the things of earth ; and make me ever measure them by the 
unerring light of death s torch. I will henceforth despise what 
I shall despise at that hour, all that has no value in Thine eyes ; 
I renounce from this moment what I must then abandon, and 
what I shall wish long before to have quitted in affection. I 
will welcome and cherish whatever will then give me consola 
tion and joy ; to have suffered for Thee the ignominy, the 
censures, and the reproaches of the world. I will despise con 
solation here, and aim at a greater, to be received from Thee at 
that decisive and dreadful hour." 

Jtmrtfj ilHontfr, JFtrst SKHwft, 

Physical Goods. 

1. Reflect how God has given us the earth and its fulness for 
our position here below. " Terr am deditfiliis hominum" It is 
no barren inheritance, but a dwelling furnished and decked with 
all that is useful and fair. We read of a celebrated courtier, 
who having built a magnificent palace, and having fitted it 
throughout with all things needful, presented it to his sovereign, 
and by so doing was considered to have deserved great praise. 
No doubt he expected an equivalent in royal favour. But here 
the great Lord of the universe, who can need no return, has 
engaged His power and wisdom to prepare a more than princely 
habitation for me His miserable slave. What a splendid earth, 
and what a glorious heaven ! The one all variegated in its 
manifold and changeful hues ; the other resplendent with light 
and celestial beauty : the one producing its various fruits from 
season to season j the other fixed, sublime, and unchange 
able. The earth delighting by the study of its details, the 
heavens overpowering by the contemplation of their vastness ; 


the earth close at hand and seeming vast while really small by 
comparison : the heavens far off, and reducing to mere points 
huge and gigantic objects. In a word, each fitly symbolises the 
beauty and greatness of our God. But the beauty of the 
heavens are given us rather to excite our longings than to satisfy 
any want. How bountifully has the earth been supplied with 
all things requisite for the needs of our lives. Its succession of 
plants and herbs, that afford us nourishment and clothing ; its 
generations of animals, that people every part of the land ; the 
birds that revel in our skies, the fishes innumerable that sport 
in the deeps : all these He hath made over to us, to supply our 
wants. He watches over them with a careful providence, in 
asmuch as they are important, or necessary, for our comforts : 
not a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and 
decree. What an inexhaustible thought of consolation and 
gratitude is here ! What proofs, speaking to our inmost souls, of a 
never-failing goodness on the part of God ! Every flower, every 
leaf, proclaims as clearly His kindness as the heavens tell of His 
glory. And how blind and insensible are we, not to feel and daily 
express our gratitude to our Creator and Benefactor for such 
various, such gracious mercies as He has thus bestowed upon us ! 
2. Reflect that all these visible and tangible benefits would 
have been thrown away upon us, if our loving Creator had not 
bestowed on us a corporeal nature, suited to this our life amidst 
material objects, and most admirably formed for their employ 
ment. What a wonderful gift is this our body ! What a com 
plication of marvels, of ingenious harmonies and adaptations ! 
We seldom reflect upon the miracles of this our outward frame ; 
or it would be a theme of endless gratitude. Had only one 
such machine been made, created intelligence would have gazed 
on it from heaven with wonder and admiration of the Creator s 
skill, and the marvellous regularity and power He has endowed 
it with. What makes our heart beat at regular intervals with 
out exhaustion, and dart its currents of life through every rill 
to the extremity of our frame 1 What gives animation to the 
numerous and complicated organs that are unceasingly employed 
in our nutrition, or elaborating so many elixirs of life, to in 
vigorate more important functions 1 What harmonizes and 
adapts the machinery of the lungs to receive nutriment for the 

R 2 


blood from the thin air that surrounds us 1 What does all this, 
I have been asking myself ; when rather I should have asked, 
Who is it 1 "Well do I know that it is my kind and gracious 
God, my eternal and inexhaustible Benefactor. What another 
series of wonderful contrivances for my advantage in the variety 
and construction of the senses ! The eye, which carries us 
beyond ourselves, and gives us location in any place whence the 
ray of God s light can reach us, though it be a star millions of 
miles distant; the ear, which is not only the conveyor of 
pleasant sounds, but, in admirable harmony with the tongue, as 
part of that mighty prerogative of speech the instrument of 
reason ; the touch, consisting of the most delicate organisation, 
the test of realities, the means of communication with the 
materialities of life ; lastly, the senses of taste and smell, given 
as safeguards to our existence, rather than as objects of grati 
fication ; all these surely form a present from God, for which if 
we feel not grateful, our hearts are little removed from those of 
inferior creatures. And in my individual case, have I not 
further reason to be grateful in the exemption from so many 
evils which others experience in their bodily frames 1 Some 
are deficient in a sense, or are paralyzed in a limb, or are dis 
ordered in some function, or are deformed in some portion of 
their body, or suffer from habitual indisposition. From all 
these evils I have been exempted by God s special mercy. Shall 
I then ever cease to bless His holy Name 1 

3. Affections. " No, my kind and merciful benefactor, never 
will I forget all that Thou hast done for me. Benedic, anima 
mea. Domino, et omnia quce intra me sunt nomini sancto ejus. 
Oh, that I had a thousand tongues to praise Thee and bless 
Thee for all the wonderful thingp Thou hast bestowed upon me. 
This earth and all its beauties, this body and all its wonders, 
are a gift to me from Thee, their Maker and Creator. Let them 
be themselves the instruments wherewith I may ever sing 
hymns of grateful praise to Thy bountj T . Nature shall ring 
with my voice of thankfulness and homage, my very frame 
shall ever devote itself to the declaration of Thy praise. Not 
only will I sing to Thee in the sight of Thy angels/ but before 
men, in the face of this Thy outward manifestation to me, I 
will glorify and proclaim the greatness of Thy Name." 


Jfourtfj IHontfj, jFtrst Icck. SHrtmcstiag. 

Name of Jesus. 

I. Reflect how soon it pleased your infant Saviour to testify 
to you His love, in that manner so peculiarly His own, by the 
shedding of His precious Blood. He was but eight days old 
when His tender body must begin to suffer, not as other child 
ren, but with full consciousness of the smart inflicted, and of 
its cause, which seemed to imply the degradation of sin. He 
was circumcised as a sinner ! thus it was at least before men ; 
but before God He was circumcised as our Saviour, our Jesus, for 
that name He now received. In other children there could be 
110 congruity between the rite performed and the name given. 
But Jesus took rightful possession of His Name by the first 
shedding of His Blood ; for His was a name that presaged and 
promised the pouring forth of that precious life-stream to the 
uttermost for the salvation of the world ; and these few drops 
that now flowed, heralded the future Passion. It was like the 
earnest-money paid on concluding a contract, as an engagement 
that the entire sum shall be disbursed at the stipulated time. 
Rightly, then, do we turn our thoughts from the painful spec 
tacle of our dear infant Saviour bleeding, and suffering under the 
unmerited imputation of sin, to the more cheering contemplation 
of His receiving on our behalf the holiest, sublimest, sweetest, 
and dearest Name ever borne upon earth. " His name was 
called Jesus." Such is the declaration of the sacred text ; brief 
indeed, but full of excellent mysteries ! It is a name of iintold 
dignity, worthy of all reverence and honour. For at that Name 
every knee should bow, whether in heaven, or on earth, or in 
hell. It has a right to all that homage which the idea or the 
declaration of God s most wonderful designs of power and good 
ness can claim ; a name that proclaims His salvation. See how 
soon after the triumphant ascension of our Saviour the power 
of that Name is shown in all its efficacy. The Apostles need 
no rod like that of Moses, to work miracles. " In the Name of 
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Such is their 
instrument of miraculous power. Before it, diseases give way, 


death resigns its victims, the evil spirits quail, and abandon 
those whose bodies they had possessed, and all the powers of 
hell acknowledge it with trembling, as irresistible. How often, 
in every age, have the saints armed themselves with this Name 
as a shield against temptation, and under its shelter vanquished 
every assault of the wicked foe 1 How often have confessors 
and martyrs made their prisons ring with its praises, and thus 
animated themselves to the direst conflicts with death itself 1 
And I, in temptations and in trials, should find the same happy 
issue, did I know how to arm myself with this impenetrable 
armour, and defy the tempter in the Name of Jesus. That 
Name will remind him of the utter overthrow given him by Him 
who bore it ; it will confound him with the remembrance of 
what was suffered for my salvation ; it will show him my 
position as impregnable, while I place myself under the safe 
guard of that invincible Name. 

2. Reflect how the Name of Jesus is yet more excellent by 
reason of its sweetness than of its power. It is a heavenly 
Name, first pronounced on earth by an angel, and fit only for 
angels lips to utter. Let us conceive how it sounded when 
first spoken on the eighth day, when, being asked what name 
should be given to the child, His blessed mother answered, 
" Jesus." With what affectionate reverence did she utter the 
word ! "With what devotion did she dwell upon a Name of 
which she alone, and her holy spouse S. Joseph, understood the 
full force. How others perhaps wondered that she found such 
a peculiar delight in pronouncing it ! But to her how sweet a 
name ! It was, indeed, peculiarly her name that whereby she 
knew Him. She called Him not Lord, nor Master, nor Son of 
David, nor Christ ; she knew Him by no other name than that 
of Jesus. He was her Jesus, her babe, her child, Jesus ! How 
often was that word pronounced under the blessed roof of 
Nazareth ; and how did it awaken thoughts tender and loving 
beyond all words ! What to Mary was poverty, contempt, or 
any human grief, so long as she had that Name on her lips, and 
Him whom it designated on her virginal bosom or at her side ? 
And is it not, then, a sweet Name to our hearts ? Will it not 
bring to our souls the thought of our dear Savour in His infancy, 
and enable us to dwell upon Him with delight j loving Him as 


our own Jesus, manifested as an infant for our sakes 1 And in 
this meditation of Him shall we not again and again, yea, 
unceasingly, repeat this pleasant and most sweet Name? Then 
after this let me go to Calvary, where I shall see One lovely 
beyond the children of men hanging upon a cruel cross, pierced 
with painful wounds, overwhelmed with sufferings, anguish, and 
.abandonment (and I know that He undergoes all this of His 
own accord for my sake) ; and let me ask any of the spectators 
who is this ? by what name is He known 1 That bystander 
will tell me He is called " Jesus of Nazareth." Such is His 
only name, in His Passion as in His infancy. All titles of 
honour disappear at these two seasons. The only name whereby 
we can think of addressing Him is that of Jesus. Is it not, 
then, the Name that of all others I should love, and most 
frequently utter ? 

3. Affections. "Yes, dear Jesus! let the music of Thy 
sweet name be ever in my ears, let its letters be ever engraven 
on my heart, let its sound be ever on my tongue. Be it my 
defence and safeguard against evil spirits, my shield against 
.every assault, my security in every danger. Thy holy Name 
shall be the object of my praises, of my blessings ; in it I will 
exult and rejoice; in it I will glory and boast. Whatever I 
do, say, or think shall be in Thy holy Name. When in 
trouble, I will speak it, and it shall comfort me ; for it will 
bring back to me the memory of Thy sufferings for me at the 
commencement and the close of Thy blessed life ! When, in 
moments of more than ordinary fervour, my heart turns lovingly 
to Thee, this Thy holy Name shall ever be upon my lips, and 
more frequently repeated to express my affection. But more 
than ever, in my last moments I desire and hope to have this 
Name before me, and within my reach. May my tongue utter 
it so long as it has the power ; may my heart muse on it, and 
love it so long as it is capable ! Blessed for ever, by men and 
.angels, on earth and in heaven, be this Thy adorable Name, name 
of peace, name of joy, of consolation, of hope, and of love ; name 
that sums up all our assurances of happiness in time, of 
liappiness in eternity ! " 


jfrmrtfj fEontlj, JRrst 2wft. tEfjurstjag. 

God. On hope. 

1. Reflect what a most blessed virtue is confidence in Gody 
and how truly given us for our happiness. Here we are on 
this miserable earth, in this wretched body, surrounded by 
dangers, enveloped in darkness, with nothing of our own to 
lean on but broken reeds that can give us no support, but 
pierce our hands. Were we left to ourselves, what must be 
come of us 1 "We must be swallowed up by one or another of 
the numerous perils that surround our path. Earth can but 
betray us, we can only deceive ourselves, till repeated errors 
and failures shall open our eyes to see ourselves helpless and 
powerless for good. But God hath been pleased to let down a 
hand to guide us, an arm to support us j and it is no other 
than His own, strong and mighty, and prevailing. Upon this 
arm He allows us to lean with the most entire trust ; yea, the 
more we throw our whole weight upon it, the more pleasing to 
Him. It is therefore a great mercy of His kindness towards us, 
thus to allow us to put all our strength and confidence in Him. 
But a necessary condition in the true exercise of this virtue is 
a total mistrust of ourselves. Unless convinced that we have 
no good in ourselves, no strength, no power, how shall we turn 
to God for His assistance 1 He will not allow His strength to 
be considered as merely supplementing ours, a mere addition 
to our own. But further, reflect how this confidence is a 
necessary virtue, one without which we can do nothing. We 
must surely know ourselves unequal to the discharge of the 
least part of our duty towards God, and that we have repeatedly 
been overcome by temptation when we thought ourselves safe 
from any assault. Our purposes, when based upon our own 
good desires and resolutions formed in our own strength,have con 
stantly failed. Where are we to find the courage and strength 
needed to serve God and save our souls ? In God alone. 
"Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat" We may be sure 
that so long as we have the assistance of His grace, we shall be 
equal to the performance of all that He commands, to overcome 


every hindrance to our salvation from within or from without, 
and to gain any virtue, however sublime. This confidence then 
in God is the solid basis of all good endeavours, the supply of 
all spiritual vigour, at once the spur of the soul and its stay 
and anchor in every storm. It is the offspring of divine hope, 
and is in truth the application of this theological virtue to the 
discharge of positive obligations. It is the exercise of that 
portion of hope which makes us rely on God for the means of 
accomplishing within us His great design of our salvation. 

2. Reflect what a reasonable virtue this is ; what a strong 
and solid foundation it has. For it rests upon a deep sense of 
God s power and goodness, as upon two unshaken columns. 
Whatever our conflicts may be, they are with enemies whom 
the strength of God s arm has a thousand times overthrown ; 
who, though leagued together against us, could yet do nothing 
while He is on our side. " Dominus illuminatio meet, et sahis 
meet: quern timebo? Dominus protectio vitce mece, a quo trepidabo? 
Si consistanl adversum me castra, in hoc ego sperabo" But 
what reason have we to expect that power to be exerted on our 
special behalf? First, because it is God s cause wherein we are 
engaged j they are His enemies whom we are fighting ; it is 
His law that we are fulfilling ; it is His will that we are 
striving to accomplish. He knows our frame ; He remem- 
bereth that we are dust ; and will He leave us to our own poor 
resources when engaged in His cause, which must needs be 
betrayed unless He aid us 1 Surely not. He will assuredly 
come to our help whenever we need it, even for His own 
Name s sake. But besides this, have we not every assurance 
in the knowledge and experience of His past goodness towards 
us 1 When has His aid been refused to us, if we on our side 
have done our part ? How often have we had proof of His 
merciful help, when we felt ourselves unequal to the contest ? 
We know and feel that He loves us, and desires most earnestly 
our salvation, that we may be happy in His presence for ever. 
What bounds then can we put to our confidence in Him, who 
wills us so much good, and who can do all that He wills ? Our 
trust in Him, then, must be as boundless as our reasons for it ; 
and these reasons are the attributes of His own perfection. 
For the more we rely upon Him, the more will He give us 


grounds for reliance, in each new proof we shall receive of His 
mercies and kindness. " Sperantem in Domino misericordia 
circumdabit" Every day we shall increase in this virtue till 
no assault shall be able to shake us from our sure salvation. 
" Qui confidunt in Domino sicut mons Sion : non commovebitur 
in ceternum qui habitat in Jerusalem" 

3. Affections and resolutions. "With such a long experience 
of my own weakness and worthlessness, what would become of 
me, my God, if I put not my entire trust in Thee ? Yes, as 
the eyes of servants are upon their masters hands, so are my 
eyes turned to Thee, till Thou have mercy upon me. Thou 
.alone art my hope, my trust, my refuge, my tower of defence, 
my rock of strength, my only resource. But weak and 
wretched as I am, there is nothing I will not undertake in 
the strength of Thy right hand, and in the power of Thy 
Omnipotence. Where Thou dost lead or point the way, I will 
follow. "Si ambulavero in tenebris et in umbra mortis, non 
timebit cor meum." " Sperans in Domino non infirmabor" 
Never didst Thou show such displeasure towards Thy apostles, 
as when in the littleness of their faith they hesitated and 
doubted. Even Peter walking on; the waters was reproved for 
this. Whatever then may betide me in my future course ; 
be it labour, persecutions, sufferings, humiliations, sorrows, all 
shall be welcome ; for I will put my trust in Thee, and aban 
don myself to the guidance of Thy providence. Give me 
strength, and I am ready to face all with Thy support. 
" Domine," I will say, " totd nocte labor antes nihil cepimus, sed 
in verbo tuo laxabo rete." 

iHantFjr, JFirst 
THE PASSION. OLIVET. Our Saviour s prayer. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your Blessed Saviour 
prostrate on the ground, earnestly repeating His prayer. 

1. Reflect how every meditation, device, or expression of 
man on the anguish and fears of our dear Redeemer in the 
garden of Olives, falls far short of the idea of them conveyed 


in the short prayer which He then repeated. " Pater, si fieri 
potest, transeat a me calix iste" Alas, alas, my dear Jesus ! 
art Thou reduced so low as this, to seem to flinch before the 
bitter cup of suffering which Thou hast proposed to drink for 
our sakes? Thou dost exhibit Thyself to Thy angels, as 
though all but ready to abandon the great work of our salva 
tion, to retrace the many steps Thou hast already taken, 
rather than go through with the cruel tragedy of which the 
prologue is already so bitter ! How the cause of us poor 
creatures seems to tremble for a moment in the scale, while on 
one side weighed Thy reverence to the Eternal Father, for 
which all Thy petitions merited to be heard, and on the other 
Thy love for man and for each of us in particular. How must 
Heaven have stood for an instant in awful suspense to see 
which should prevail ! But no ! Blessed be Thou, my loving 
Jesus, for that clause in Thy supplication, which decided its 
result in our favour. " 81 fieri potest." Yes, I well under 
stand the meaning and immense force of these words, pregnant 
as they are with our eternal salvation. " If," it seems to say, 
1 this is compatible with Thy decrees and promises that man 
shall be redeemed, if it be reconcilable with My fixed deter 
mination to pay the entire price of his ransom, and accomplish 
the work of his salvation at any cost; if this can be done without 
My drinking of this chalice of agony, then, and only then, 
remove it from before Me. Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me 
calix iste " Oh, excess of love, which would not take advan 
tage of the authority of the divine power vested in Him ; 
while it yielded His human nature to a struggle so severe, to a 
suffering so acute, as made it draw back in horror from the 
draught, and entreat its removal, attaching to it such a condi 
tion as presented no obstacle to our salvation. For well did 
Jesus know that He had recorded a previous caution against 
the acceptance of His prayer thus wrung from His soul by the 
agony of His sufferings ; and that to the record in the book of 
His Father s decrees, He had prefixed those irrevocable words, 
Behold, I come." But do I wonder that He should have re 
coiled from the cup offered to His lips, or that He should have 
secured His obligation to drink it at all 1 He recoiled from it ; 
for what was in that cup ? Our sins. He drank it neverthe- 


less ; for what was to be gained by drinking it 1 Their pardon 
and our salvation. Is not the whole mystery at once solved ; 
the seeming contradiction of desires completely explained 1 
For if I cannot look back upon my sins, even though (I trust) 
forgiven, without confusion and horror, can I wonder that the 
innocent Lamb of God should contemplate them with an 
infinite hatred and abhorrence 1 He saw that they would be 
committed against Himself, in spite of all He was suffering, 
and about to suffer, for my sake. Still more, He had to take 
them all upon Himself, to make Himself responsible for them. 
Yet, when I think how He loved me, even more than His life, 
I cease to be astonished to see how, notwithstanding all repug 
nance, He quaffed the chalice of my sins to its very dregs t 
Oh, dear Jesus, how shall I ever love thee as I ought ] 

2. Reflect upon the goodness of your loving Saviour, who 
was pleased, in the midst of His dreadful agony, to bear you 
ever in mind, by so ordering this brief prayer as to make it a 
perfect model for your imitation. As man, He prayed for the 
removal of a temporal, though most grievous calamity j one 
which no mere human strength could bear. He therefore prayed 
with deep earnestness, repeating again and again the same words, 
which contained the object of His request. He prayed with 
most profound devotion, prostrate upon the bare hard ground, 
bathed in tears, filled with anguish and sorrow. He prayed 
with untiring perseverance, returning thrice to the same sup 
plication, after finding His disciples asleep and insensible to 
His agony. What a model for us is here ; that, instead of 
hurrying, with our lips, through prayers formal and cold, and 
being discouraged if we are not at once heard, we should be 
truly in earnest in every prayer, whatever its object, if we 
really desire to receive what we ask. But then, how truly did 
He resign the issue to the will of God, as not being a thing of 
its own nature necessary, " V&rumtamen, non mea voluntas, sed 
tuafiat" This is the true essential condition of all such en 
treaties ; that we seek not our own wills, but the will of God. 
He knoweth what is best for us, and will give it to us j though 
often He will accomplish His blessed will, and our good, by 
refusing us our present petition to give us something better. 
But let us never cease to admire this most affectionate token of 


our dear Redeemer s love, who, even while undergoing such 
fearful sufferings, would not allow an opportunity to pass by 
that might instruct us, and make us wise unto salvation. 

3. Affections. " If I, my dear Lord, have so much helped 
to mix for Thee this bitter cup of pain and suffering, let me 
at least share it with Thee. When the sons of Zebedee had 
given way to a momentary impulse of ambitious desire, Thou 
didst bring them back to right feeling by that gentle question : 
Are you able to drink of the cup whereof I shall drink 1 ? 
Oh, who could resist such a question 1 Who could refuse most 
cheerfully to answer, Yes ? Who would decline to drink 
from the same chalice, however bitter and nauseous the potion, 
which Thy blessed lips have consecrated and sweetened 1 Wel 
come, then, my dear Saviour, any portion of Thy chalice. I 
will drink of it willingly in all afflictions, trials, and persecu 
tions that I may endure for Thy sake. So far from shrinking 
from my duty in promoting Thy glory and Thine own work of 
saving souls, from any apprehension, I will glory in afflictions, 
studying to bear them in the spirit of Olivet, in the feeling that 
I am paying back to Thee in kind, some small portion of that 
generous love and tender kindness which made Thee suffer so 
much for me. I will drink of that chalice with compunction, 
in the bitterness of my grief for sin, in detestation of my 
offences against Thee, my loving Saviour. Often will I weep 
over them in the garden of affliction, in company with Thee ; 
and thus atone for the suffering with which I there over 
whelmed Thy tender Heart. I will drink lovingly from Thy 
own blessed chalice upon Thine altar, that calix tneus inebrians 
et prceclarus, wherein I will daily commemorate Thy passion 
and death, receiving the awful yet most sweet draught of Thy 
adorable Blood, which Thou didst shed for me in Thy prayer. 
And in the end, grant me, dear Jesus, that I may drink it with 
Thee new, in the kingdom of Thy Father, when face to face I 
may thank Thee for all Thou hast done and endured 011 my 


J^urtlj iHontfj, JFirst TOtefe. Saluting. 

ON SIN AND EEPENTANCE. On the Madness of Sin (its 

1 . Reflect how truly the sinner gives proof of his madness, 
when he commits a wilful sin. Suppose you saw a young man 
in possession of immense wealth, and of every object of comfort 
and luxury, suddenly begin to destroy everything valuable that 
he had. He throws his delicate viands to the swine, he flings 
his plate and jewels into the river, he casts all his costly vest 
ments into the flames, and sets fire to and utterly destroys his 
beautiful mansion. You ask him why he does all this, and he 
tells you that by doing it he has gained a prospect of five 
minutes gratification, which has been promised him on these 
conditions. "Would you hesitate one instant to pronounce this 
man absolutely out of his mind 1 ? Would not any tribunal 
declare him incompetent to carry on the affairs of life *? And 
what is this compared with the madness of the sinner 1 He is 
in possession of an invaluable treasure so long as he remains in 
God s favour. He has a rich robe of grace to clothe his soul ; 
he has most precious jewels in the sacraments and other super 
natural gifts of God j he has a mansion in heaven prepared to 
receive him. The tempter, or his own wicked appetites, or the 
vain world suggests to him a mean worthless pleasure of a 
moment s duration, at the cost of all these things. For ever 
after he is to be poor, and naked, and eternally wretched ; and 
he listens, accepts the proposal, deliberately makes the ex 
change. Is he not mad ? But suppose that he throws away 
all his spiritual advantages and possessions, not for a short 
satisfaction, but for a life of honour and pleasure. Still, he 
well knows that, however long this may last, it is, compared 
with eternity, as a drop of sweetness in a full river of gall. Sup 
pose that, in addition to this self-spoliation, the miserable mad 
man added the self-infliction of most painful and dangerous 
wounds, such as will make the rest of his life a burden and a curse 
to himself; what should we say, but that he gave the last 
decisive proof of being in a complete derangement of intellect 1 
And even so, does not the sinner wound his soul yet more 


grievously when he commits his crime 1 Does he not join with 
the enemy of his salvation, not merely in plundering it, but 
like the robbers of that traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho, in 
maiming and wounding it, and leaving it half dead ? Does he 
not cause to his conscience a smart which will endure for ever, 
racking and torturing him for time and eternity ? Does he not 
so lame and cripple all the powers of his soul, that, even if he 
afterwards recover, he will remain weakened and sickly to the 
end of his days ? And is he not mad that doth all this 1 Lastly, 
suppose this poor insane creature went so far as to put an end 
to his own existence, should we not ever after consider him as 
having been irrevocably mad 1 And what else does the trans 
gressor of God s law but murder his own soul, and utterly and 
for ever destroy it ? And how fearfully ! For not only does 
he incur spiritual death, and the loss of divine favour and grace 
in this world, but he willingly incurs the second death by leap 
ing, of his own accord, into the burning pool of fire and brim 
stone, prepared by God s wrath for His enemies. And if 
Empedocles has ever been esteemed no better than a madman, 
for having thrown himself into Etna s burning mouth, shall he 
be said to be less mad who deliberately flings himself into the 
pit of hell ? 

2. Reflect how still more insane an act sin is, when con 
sidered as an outrage against God. The sinner is fully aware 
of the greatness and infinity of God, and of his own comparative 
nothingness. He is perfectly conscious of God s omnipotence 
and irresistible might, and of his own weakness. Yet he 
ventures to enter the lists with Him, and defy Him to combat, 
declaring himself His enemy, and contemptuously provoking 
His vengeance. He knows his entire dependence upon God, 
how he has no breath in his nostrils save by His permission, no 
life but what He preserves in him. He is a poor pensioner 
upon the Divine bounty, which if God for a moment withdraw, 
he falls into everlasting perdition. " Avertenie autem tefaciem, 
turbabuntur" If but for a moment, He turn away His eye 
from him, he ceases to exist. Can it be anything short of 
absolute madness in the sinner to dare God thus to ao, by com 
mitting that which He detests and abhors beyond any other 
thing 1 But suppose that the security of so many others, who, 


like him, transgress and are not struck down, lulls him into 
peace ; still he well knows that he is making God his declared 
enemy ; giving Him a right to pursue him with vengeance unto 
death and beyond it, and drying up, in his behalf, the source of 
His mercies and graces. What man in his senses would act 
thus towards a powerful lord, and provoke him wantonly to 
anger, and to a just resentment, against the consequences whereof 
he could have no shield or defence 1 If a king going to war, 
says our Saviour, finds that with his small forces he has no 
chance whatever of success, he sends to treat of peace. But 
here the folly is so excessive on our part, that without the 
smallest force, or power, we challenge the Lord of Hosts to 
enmity and war, when by a breath, nay by not looking at us, 
so to speak, or at least by ceasing His active, energetic care 
over us, He can annihilate and reduce us to nothing ! What 
an act of madness then must every wilful sin be in His eyes ! 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " Have I then allowed myself 
to be borne away into this state of phrenzy, so as to do all that I 
have meditated on ! Yes, my God, it must have been so. For 
I am sure nothing but a fit of madness could have brought me 
to offend Thee, so good, so merciful a God ! It must indeed 
have been some strong delusion, some intoxicating influence that 
made me so far forget Thee and myself. It is only in our 
delirium that we outrage our parents, our friends, those who 
tend us most kindly. And nothing short of a delirium would 
have brought me so cruelly to abuse and offend my kindest 
Father, my dearest friend, my blessed and most loving Re 
deemer, who has watched over me, through all my sins, to bring 
me to repentance. Oh, with what horror and hatred I look 
back upon what I have so madly done ! But now, blessed be 
Thy Name, the paroxysm is past, the maddening potion has lost 
its power ; never more, by Thy grace, shall it sway me. No, 
my God, chain down my rebellious passions and disorderly 
appetites, that they may never again so blind my reason, 
never so estrange my sense, as to bring this madness back upon 


JFourtfj ftlontfy, JSccontJ 2cck, Sunfcag. 

the Saints take in us. 

1. Reflect liow natural it is that the Saints in glory should 
take a lively interest in our welfare. They are our brethren, 
closely united with us in a bond of love. It is a love incom 
parably greater than what men can feel for one another here 
below pure, disinterested, holy. No jealousy, no envy can 
possibly enter into it. They love us, therefore, so as to have 
our well-being and eternal interests closely at heart. Moreover, 
we are members of the same Church, they triumphant, we 
militant ; and through the communion which is kept up between 
its different parts, we feel on our side a love and reverence for 
them, and a joy at their bliss, which they repay by a corre 
sponding desire to see us one day united to them in glory. 
Again, the Saints are most compassionate, and share in that 
merciful disposition which forms the most distinguishing attri 
bute of God towards us. Can they, then, see us struggling 
amid the very difficulties which they had to encounter, and not 
sympathise with and pity us 1 Can they behold us surrounded 
by snares, assailed within and without by temptations such as 
they once encountered, and not be anxious for our successful 
issue ? Can they be witnesses of our struggle and combat before 
them, as in an arena, with our deadly foe, and remain indifferent 
spectators, without rejoicing in every advantage we gain, and 
grieving at our every fall and every wound 1 Will not an 
Augustine feel with those who, like himself, are struggling to 
free themselves from the sins and follies of youth ? Will not 
Apostles sympathise with the efforts of all amongst us who 
aim at the virtues necessary to undertake their office ? Will 
not those blessed martyrs who have gone forth from these very 
walls to defend and inculcate the faith at the hazard, nay, with 
"the loss of life, cheer on us, their successors, at every exertion 
we make, in study, in prayer, or in the practice of virtue * 
Why, then, do we not always feel ourselves in this holy and 
most encouraging society of Saints ? How is it we do not seem 
to hear their approving voices when we do anything worthy of 


them 1 Surely, next to a constant sense of the Divine pre 
sence, the feeling that we are seen by so many kind friends, 
encouraged by their interest, should be a strong incentive to 
good exertions. But the Saints have another great interest in 
our welfare and eternal salvation ; for we are destined to fill up 
the vacant places in their society, and till this is done, their 
happiness is not complete. The rebel angels, by their fall, have 
left a large space empty in God s Kingdom, which is to be occu 
pied by those whom God saves among men. Now the Saints 
are as yet under the altar, their happiness will not receive its 
final accomplishment till their number is filled up at the last 
day (Rev. vi. 11). For this consummation they ardently long, 
and consequently have an interest in the salvation of men in 
general, that it may come the more speedily. And this general 
desire must be much more intense in favour of those whose 
conversation is already in heaven, by devotion towards its happy 
inmates, and frequent intercourse with them by prayer. 

2. Reflect how the interest which the Saints take in our 
happiness is not a barren sympathy that leads to no actual 
benefit to us, but is such as urges them to assist us, and most 
effectually. When men 011 earth express their compassion for 
persons in distress, and though they have abundant means of 
helping them, take no pains, or even decline to do so, do we at 
all believe their pity or interest to be real, and not a mere pre 
tence ? And so it would be with that of our brethren in 
heaven, did it not lead them to take an active part on our 
behalf. On the one hand, God is not merely willing, but 
desirous, that they should intercede for us. For this He com 
municated to Moses on Mount Sinai the sin of the people, that 
he might be able to make supplication for them, and avert the 
wrath of God. And so in the Apocalypse, St. John represents 
the vials and the many frequent odours offered up by the antients 
and angels, as given to them : " Et data sunt ei aromata multa 
guce sunt orationes Sanctorum" "Who gave them these but 
God Himself, who wills them to offer them up, that so He 
might be in a manner constrained to grant them 1 The inter 
cession of the Saints, then, is great and powerful with Him, 
and He delights in it. On the other hand, these blessed and 
loving spirits, who bear towards us more than a brother s love, 


and are most anxious for our welfare and eternal salvation, will 
not neglect so strong an influence in our favour, nor suffer us 
to want this their welcome and gracious aid. They certainly 
will not thrust back the vials put into their hands, nor be dis 
obedient to the Divine invitation to intercede for us, their poor 
friends. What an interest, then, we have in heaven, constantly 
ready to be called into exertion ! And how foolish on our part 
to neglect making the best use of it, by daily calling upon these 
friends of the Lamb s and of ours to use their efforts for our 
welfare which they hold so dear. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " my God, rich in 
resources of graciousness and goodness, I thank Thee from my 
soul for having placed before Thy face so many loving friends 
who take so much to heart my everlasting welfare. They are 
not like our friends on earth, who limit their friendship to ex- 
presssions of good will and readiness to serve us. They cease 
not day or night to introduce into their songs of praise to Thee 
supplications for mercy in our favour. Oh, maintain them in 
the discharge of this kind office of charity and friendship ; that 
they may never, like Joseph s friend in prison, forget to speak 
good things before Thee, now that they stand in Thy presence. 
O glorious and happy citizens of our true country, I long to be 
among you ! Oh, forget not me, your poor friend, servant, and 
brother ; but ever bear in mind my misery and my dangers. 
Represent to your God and mine, on my behalf, what ye have 
suffered for Him, and obtain for me every good thing here, and 
a share in your happiness hereafter. Intercede, make interest 
for me, who am so unworthy myself to appear before God s 

Jtmrtfj fHontfj, 5cconti racrfu fftonfcag. 

LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Resurrection of the Body. 
[Same subject J\ 

Preparation. Imagine to yourself the great multitude of 
mankind arisen from the grave, and ready for judgment. 

1. Reflect how, having considered the resurrection of the 
dead as a fearful spectacle, in which we are not to be simple 

R 9 


spectators, but must take our part, we may now consider it in 
another most important aspect, as a great and fundamental 
mystery. We see at the beginning, how much it was insisted 
upon in the preaching of the apostles, who with St. Paul 
declared that if there was no resurrection of the dead, then 
Christ had not risen again ; and if Christ had not risen again, 
then was his preaching vain. Hence we see him proposing 
this doctrine in the very first place to the council of the 
Areopagus, though it deterred most of his hearers from pursuing 
their inquiry into the truth of Christianity. In fact, it is a 
mystery which, however dark and difficult in itself, yet affords 
the only solution of many others in the order of God s providence. 
Thus we all see and feel that there is a great disproportion 
between the deserts and the rewards of men here below ; that 
the wicked prosper and the just are afflicted and distressed. 
This disproportion, too, is not confined to the soul, but actually 
reaches the body, the companion and instrument of all our 
actions, good or evil. True, the body is but the slave of the 
soul, and can do nothing of itself; but then the justice of God 
goes far beyond the strict limits of desert, and therefore is ever 
ready to reward with abundant generosity the smallest share in 
good. It is the entire man that has loved and served Him ; 
therefore the entire man He wills to glorify. It is the entire 
man that outrages and insults Him, therefore the entire man 
does He will to confound and punish. As then we prove the 
necessity of a future state from the compensation demanded by 
that want of proportion in rewards and punishments which we 
experience here below ; so by a certain analogy, and for the 
same reason, may we infer the resurrection of the body. 
Further, nothing can be more congruous than the glorifying of 
this flesh of ours, which the Son of God took upon Himself 
after He had abased Himself by assuming a mortal body. He 
elevated it to a dignity it did not possess before, and made it 
an object not so unworthy the favour of God. Thus He is 
pleased to reward us even in the flesh, for the sake of His 
beloved Son, who has received us as His brethren. 

2. Reflect how this our resurrection is intimately connected, 
according to the reasoning of St. Paul, with that of our 
Saviour. Not only by imitation, inasmuch as it is fitting that 


we be in all tilings, as far as possible, like our Head and 
Master, and as He hath risen so ought we to rise from the 
dead : but because it is fitting that we should all partake in His 
triumph over death. " O grave, where is Thy victory ? " asks 
the Apostle. Now, had the grave answered by showing the 
countless multitudes of its captives which it held with a strong 
hand, so that they could not be taken from it, would not this 
question have been proved vain 1 But our Blessed Redeemer 
would not triumph so imperfectly over death and the grave as 
to leave them in possession of such spoil. Having conquered 
hell by wresting from it the souls of men, He must needs 
triumph over its emblem the grave, by saving from it these our 
bodies. When therefore we shall rise, we shall rise as part of 
this conquest, and to swell His triumph. But when a con 
queror went of old in triumph, there were two classes of 
persons that accompanied him. First came the companions of 
his conflicts and victories, who without jealousy for him, their 
leader and chief of the triumph, accompanied him with acclama 
tions, and bore their own chaplets on their heads and their 
palms in their hands, entering into all the exultation of the 
joyful day. But then came a crowd of squalid wretches, with 
tattered clothes and hair dishevelled, dragged against their will 
behind his chariot wheels, unwilling partakers in his triumph. 
These were captives taken in battle, snatched indeed from 
death, but only to be consigned to a more cruel lot. So, too, 
will it be in this triumph of our Great King in the resurrection 
of our bodies. We shall all be there, to form part of its dis 
play, and in various manners to contribute to its celebration. 
It may be, alas ! we shall only be there as His enemies, sub 
dued with a strong hand, and forced against our wills to stand 
before Him. We may be there to receive at His hands the 
bitter doom we have so often deserved. We may only form 
the melancholy part of His triumphal procession. Oh, what 
horror, should such be my fate ! What a confusion ! what a 
frightful end ! 

3. Affections. " Never, dear Lord, never let this be my 
dreadful and unhappy case ! Never let me run the risk of it, 
by incurring Thy displeasure ! No ; I love Thee here, let me 
be there among those that love Thee. I love Thy glory and 


Thine honour ; I love to see Thee triumphant over all Thine 
enemies, the subduer of death, the grave, and hell. How shall 
I then bear to be thrust out among those that have hated Thee 
here below 1 How shall I be able to endure, at the resurrection, 
the company of those whose outrages against Thee on earth I 
utterly detest 1 No, my God ! I will have no resurrection but 
such as Thy beloved Son had, bright and full of glory, and 
leading to unfailing, everlasting joys. I will be one of those 
who shall celebrate His triumph with gladness ; for I will do 
my best now, with Thy grace, to serve under His banner in the 
fight against sin and iniquity, the causes of death and hell. 
Let me subdue my body here ; and by a pure and chaste 
life make it worthy to appear before Thee clothed in brightness 
and immortality. Let it even suffer here below, that it may 
have a right to compensation in the day of Thy terrible judg 
ment and most illustrious triumph." 

JFourtfj fHontjj, 5ccontr 
DUTIES TOWARDS EQUALS. On Gwporal Works of Mercy. 

1. Reflect how works of charity towards our neighbour may 
very justly be divided according to their twofold object, his 
body or his soul. It has pleased God to put it in our power 
often to assist him in either. But, however our ambition may 
incline us to overlook the less noble part, and wish to dedicate 
our charitable care towards the souls rather than the bodies of 
others, yet shall we be in great danger of failing even in this, 
if what seems the lower department of charity be neglected. 
For we may reason in some respect concerning the two, as St. 
John did concerning the two great branches of the virtues : if 
we feel no compassion and charity for the ills of the body which 
we see, and which appeal to our senses, how shall we feel them 
for those of the spirit which we see not ? In truth, the in 
numerable evils that affect our neighbours, sickness, accidents, 
poverty, sudden loss of station or wealth, imprisonment, utter 


abandonment without shelter, are calculated to move the feel 
ings and inspire the pity even of heathens, and infidels ; and 
how shall the Christian be able to satisfy the higher demands 
of his religious law, if he neglect their claims 1 Moreover, God 
has allowed these calamities in others, expressly to give per 
petual occasion to His servants to exercise this virtue. They 
who are rich, are rich for the sake of the poor ; they who are 
poor, are poor for the sake of the rich : each is equally necessary 
to the other. Besides, these outward and visible afflictions and 
evils are the consequences of sin ; a part of the curse entailed 
upon mankind by the fall of our first parents. It is therefore 
our duty, as far as lies in our power, to efface from creation 
^very trace of that curse and of its cause, by diminishing, 
where we can, the load of suffering they have laid upon the 
human race. Still more is it good and profitable, as well as 
meritorious to us, to devote ourselves to alleviate corporal 
-calamity, because it contains the practice of humility, and 
mortification. The work of comforting the afflicted, advising 
the perplexed, or instructing the ignorant, is no doubt a nobler 
office ; but it will be very unprofitably discharged by him who 
disdains to stoop to the humbler offices of serving the sick, 
visiting loathsome dungeons, or giving nourishment or clothing 
to the needy. There is often a strong repugnance on the part 
of weak nature to these practices which only makes them the 
more salutary for many of us. There is something that flatters 
our pride, something honourable, in dii-ecting or superintending 
the education of the poor, or of children ; but to serve the sick 
or aid with our own hands the distressed, especially when bound 
to us by no tie, may contain an act of purer virtue. There is 
less danger therefore of pride or self-seeking in the discharge 
of these humbler duties. Still we must be careful to distinguish 
this Christian virtue from that worldly and heathenish philan 
thropy of the day, which busies itself with theories or systems 
for the relief of the distressed, but puts not a finger to the 
work, or contents itself with little better than visits of form 
and ceremony to the abodes of sorrow and of crime. Nor 
should we ever lose sight of the great spiritual good we may 
do through the exercise of judicious corporal charity. For we 
shall gain little on the hearts of the poor, if they see us zealous 


about their souls, but hardhearted to their sufferings and tem 
poral sorrows. By seasonable attention to their distresses, we 
may often win their souls to God. 

2. Reflect how our great model, the Son of God, inculcated* 
by example and by word this branch of charity to our neigh 
bours. He did not content Himself with instructing the Jews r 
but healed their diseases. He came to minister, not to be 
ministered unto. And in this He did not content Himself with 
mere exertions of His power, on their behalf, but He per 
sonally served them. "When the centurion told Him his 
servant was sick, His ready reply, though evidently the house 
was at some distance, was "Ego veniam., et curalo eum " (Matt. 
viii. 7). This in regard to a servant, whom the event showed 
He could have healed at a distance ; and an earnest supplica 
tion was needed to avert Him from such an act of humble con 
descension. How many are there who would hardly condescend 
to visit their own servant in the same situation ! In like 
manner, Jesus went to the house to heal Simon s mother-in-law, 
to raise the daughter of Jairus, and no doubt upon other occa 
sions also. But what a striking and moving example have we- 
of this department of charity, when after supper, He girded 
Himself with a napkin, even as a servant, and washed His 
disciples feet. Even they were astonished at this His abase 
ment. Then He bade them do to one another what He had 
done to them. "What an encouragement to us to discharge 
towards our neighbours the lowest offices of corporal service ! 
After his examples we see kings and queens, like S. James or 
S. Elizabeth of Hungary, serving and attending the sick with 
wonderful love and tenderness ; and bishops and popes, like S.. 
Gregory the great, or S. Charles Borromeo, serving pilgrims 
and strangers at table. But what our Blessed Redeemer prac 
tised He expressly commanded. He even draws His illustra 
tions of the practical obligations of charity from the corporal 
works. It is he who shall give a cup of cold water to a dis 
ciple, in the name of a disciple, who shall receive his reward. 
And in the last sentence of terror to the wicked, and of eternal- 
comfort to the good, it is simply our corporal mercy to our 
neighbours that will be the turning point of our doom, and the 
test of our duties to God. It will be our having given food to- 


the hungry, clothing to the naked, shelter to the homeless, 
comfort to the sick and imprisoned, that will decide the ques 
tion of our admittance into His kingdom. And to make the 
merit of these works the more evident, He twice repeats that 
what we do to one of His poor, He considers as done to Him 

3. Resolutions. " How then can I hesitate to embrace any 
opportunity to serve my dear Lord in the persons of the poor 
and distressed 1 What a consolation to me to think, in doing 
them any little service, that He will fold it up in His bosom, 
and will assuredly repay me. How was S. Martin overpaid for 
the loss of his soldier s cloak, when Christ appeared to him that 
very night, clad in the half which he had cut off to cover a poor 
half-naked beggar ; and said to the angels, around His throne, 
Martin covered Me with this garment ! Cheerfully, then, 
will I become servant to those whom Jesus has declared His 
substitutes ; I will minister to their wants, whenever occasions 
present themselves of doing it without ostentation or danger of 
pride. Give me Thy grace, O my God, without which I can 
do nothing, for this purpose. But chiefly, inflame my heart 
with an ardent spirit of charity, from which the cheerful per 
formance of such duties, however repugnant to flesh and blood, 
may spontaneously flow." 

jfourtij fHontlj, SccontJ <2Hft. 


Preparation. Represent to yourself your Blessed Saviour, in 
the wilderness, exhausted by His long fast, and thrice sub 
jected to temptation, as we read in the gospel. 

1.. Reflect how the sacred Scripture tells us that Jesus, after 
His baptism, was led by the Spirit into the desert, there to be- 
tempted by the devil. There must be here a deeper mystery 
than at first sight appears. For when Jesus performs the most 
astonishing works of power, when He heals all manner of 
diseases, when He even raises the dead to life, there is no inti- 


mation of the Spirit of God leading Him to the places where 
the miracles were to be performed : they are simply related, as 
though they were His ordinary acts. Now, on the other hand, 
we are told that the Spirit leads Him forth into the desert to 
be tempted. The reason is, that this is a mystery indeed, much 
beyond the others. For that the Son of God should appear 
weak and imperfect is indeed a deep mystery ; not that He 
should be strong and glorious. That He should be tempted by 
the devil is indeed wonderful and incomprehensible ; while it is 
by no means wonderful that He should subdue and expel devils 
by His word. But let us see the preparation (so to speak) 
necessary to give the tempter some apparent chance of success. 
He knew not fully who He was ; but from what he had seen of 
Him since His infancy, he was convinced that he had no chance 
of success till He was weakened to the last extremity. That 
the temptations therefore might bear some proportion to His 
virtue, Jesus fasted forty days, without food. But there were 
other motives for this mysterious fast, prolonged to the same 
measure as those of Moses and Elias. He wished doubtless to 
instruct us to fast, not indeed with the same rigour, but at least 
according to our powers. He, the innocent, the pure, the holy, 
was pleased to show us how we sinners, needing mercy and 
forgiveness, should afflict our souls by fasting. He willed 
especially to teach me how the sacred ministry of announcing 
the gospel to His people should be preceded, as in His own case, 
by retirement into the desert, far from the world, and by morti 
fication of the flesh and its rebellious appetites, for acquiring 
a steady habit of virtue. Such retirement has He blessedly 
allowed me in this place of study. 

2. Reflect how gloriously our dear Redeemer s super-eminent 
virtue is displayed in the temptations themselves which He 
endured, independently even of His victory. For, as we have 
seen, the tempter knew he could have no chance of seeming 
success, save under some very exceptional circumstance. When, 
for instance, he designs to tempt us to intemperance, he does 
not require anything more for his advantage, than that we feel 
an ordinary appetite ; and thus he often succeeds at our common 
meals. But he waited for the weakening effect of a forty days 
fast before he would attempt to allure Him to satisfy His 


hunger with plain bread in a wilderness. Our ambition is 
moved by the smallest preferment, distinction, or possession. 
The tempter thinks no bait has any chance of succeeding here, 
short of tKe accumulated empire of the whole world. We 
presume upon our own strength, when we have made little or 
no progress in virtue, and imagine that God is bound to afford 
us any species of favour or comfort that would please us, because 
we fancy ourselves His servants. The evil spirit placos Jesus 
in such a position of danger, on a pinnacle of the temple, as 
seems to leave Him no escape but trusting Himself to a promise 
made by God, of bearing up His servants in the hands of 
angels ; and who could put in a better claim to it than He ? 
Yet, in every attempt, Satan is baffled, utterly confounded, and 
reduced to shame. And how simply as well as completely is the 
victory gained by our Blessed Redeemer . He contents Himself 
with opposing to each impious suggestion the precept of His 
Eternal Father ; and the deceiver is put to nought. What a 
practical and simple rule for us to follow ! We have only to 
weigh against the delusive promises of the tempter, the positive 
commands of the God whom we adore, serve, and love : the 
very comparison of the two with their results, will secure the 
balance in our favour. But wherefore did Jesus suffer Himself 
to be thus tempted 1 First, no doubt, to gain a complete victory 
over the wily enemy of man ; to humble his pride, pluck out 
his sting, beat out his poisonous fangs, and crush his head. 
Never before had he been so mortified and overcome. He had 
subdued David, the man after God s own heart, and Solomon, 
the wisest of men. He had wounded almost every other human 
being since the time of Adam, except the Yirgin Mother of 
this Divine Person. Her he had not been allowed even to 
assail. Now he sees his arts foiled, and his tooth powerless 
upon a virtue that is manifestly proof against every attack. He 
must have felt that the time for his total overthrow was 
drawing nigh, when One in the shape of man had so completely 
discomfited him. But a still stronger motive had our dear 
Saviour for submitting to the humiliation of this trial ; it was 
to comfort His poor servants under the like assaults. Here 
may the just and most virtuous learn that he is to expect no 
exemption from temptation ; the timid, that it is no sin, no 


fault of his, to suffer it, the weakest, how easy a thing it is to 
baffle and foil the enemy. When w^e are tempted, so long as 
we sin not, we are like to Jesus. When we conquer, like Him, 
angels are ready most lovingly to minister to us. 

3. Affections. " Ever blessed and most dear Redeemer I 
how hast Thou condescended in this mystery to be in all things 
tempted even as we are, yet without sin. Here Thou dost show 
us, even more than in Thy crib at Bethlehem, that Thou wert 
as one of ourselves, a man interested in all the sinless frailties 
of our nature, and willing to take Thy full share in them, 
without impairing Thy innocence. Blessed be Thou for so 
much kindness and love. But oh, never forget that if tempta 
tion to Thee was only an occasion of glory and victory, to me, 
so weak, it is too often a cause of sin. Suffer me not then to 
be tempted beyond my strength ; but stand ever between the 
foe and my soul, to curb his malice, and give me power to 
resist. By Thy own trial I entreat Thee, abandon me not ; 
give me not up to his evil will ; but let me ever see Thy en 
couraging smile upon me, when engaged in the unequal conflict. 
Let me ever turn to Thee crucified, and find strength and con 
solation in the thought that I am thus the more like Thee 
tempted in the wilderness. But no my heart shall be no 
wilderness ; it can be no solitude, as long as I see Thee in it ; 
there can be nothing dreary or dismal when I have Thy 
company. Let temptation never find me alone or separated 
from Thee, for in Thee I will overcome." 

JFourtfj fKontfjf, Srcontr SHEedt. (Cfjurstag. 
THE DECALOGUE. Thou slialt not Kill. 

Reflect how this commandment, in its obvious and more 
material sense, may appear hardly to affect us, or to contain 
any instruction whereupon we can meditate for our own profit. 
We may trust in God that no provocation or other circum 
stance could ever so far overcome our horror for the sin of 
murder as to prevail upon us to commit it. Nor can it be very 
necessary for us to meditate upon its enormity for the purpose 


of warning others against it ; seeing that it is one rarely per 
petrated ; the arguments against it are too palpable not to be 
easily gathered and forcibly urged. But the commandments of 
God, in general, forbid the extremities whereby they can be 
transgressed ; and in that prohibition include those intermediate 
acts which of their own nature tend to produce that ultimate 
and extreme crime. When therefore we are forbidden to kill, we 
are forbidden to strike our neighbour, or otherwise maltreat 
him : because it is by such means that men generally come to 
shed their neighbour s blood. In fact, as in every other sin, 
there are, as it were, inchoate acts that contain in themselves 
the seed of that which is mortal and extreme. As he who cheats 
his neighbour, though not called so, is in truth a thief, and in 
realitv steals \ as he who indulges the dangerous curiosity of 
his senses is pronounced by our Saviour already an adulterer ; 
so may we say that he who angrily strikes his neighbour or 
otherwise aims at the injury of his person, indirectly at least 
tends towards his destruction. For how often has it happened 
that a blow, not intended to be fatal, has actually proved so. 
Therefore the Old Law, given by God to the Jews, kept the 
same proportion between the punishment and the offence in 
each of these sins ; and as loss of life was punished by an 
equal loss, so was an eye exacted for an eye, and a tooth for a 
tooth. Hence all such quarrelling and strife as leads or may 
lead to violence is not only highly unbecoming and disgraceful, 
especially in an ecclesiastic, but is truly a grievous sin, odious 
in the sight of God. It follows no less that, in an inferior 
degree at least, all angry contention, even in words, is to be 
strenuously avoided ; as disposing us and often insensibly leading 
us on to acts of this nature. Let us always be ready to give 
up our own wills and our own opinions, rather than allow 
them to draw us 011 to a breach of charity with any one. It 
will be but a small sacrifice, after all, to this queen of virtues ; 
and we shall have paid cheaply for the peace of mind and the 
absence of remorse which we shall thus have retained. When 
we see that our own or other s temper is becoming ruffled in 
conversation, let us withdraw from the danger ; and let no 
foolish pride or apprehension withhold us from so salutary a 
step. Let us always be ready to come in as peacemakers and 


stop at the outset any angry symptoms that forebode the in 
terruption of harmony and fraternal love. 

2. Reflect how our Saviour Himself extended this precept to 
all the acts expressive of anger which we have enumerated, 
when he said : " You have heard that it was said to them of 
old : thou shalt not kill, and whoever shall kill shall be guilty 
of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry 
with his brother, shall be guilty of the judgment, &c." (S. Matt. 
v. 21, 22). He went even further ; for by commanding us, 
before presuming to offer our gift at the altar, to go and be 
reconciled to our brother who hath anything against us, He 
manifestly condemns all harbouring in our minds any resent 
ment or hidden wrath, especially all desire of revenge. This is 
indeed the worst and most odious form of this execrable vice, 
the one most akin to the habitual feelings of that accursed being 
who was a " murderer from the beginning." It turns the breast 
of him who entertains it into a very hell, the seat of a fire 
which burns unceasingly and parches up every better feeling. 
It draws a bitter poison out of every good gift of God ; making 
all such, when bestowed upon others, motives of jealousy and 
dislike. It anticipates on earth the worm that never dies, 
nourishing one in the heart to gnaw and consume it. When 
once indulged, there is no excess to which it may not lead. It 
is probable that the enemies of Christ never thought themselves 
capable of becoming His murderers, nor intended it at the 
beginning. They began by conceiving a dislike for His doctrines, 
and a dread of His powerful reproofs. Hence they came to 
form a hatred of His person, and allowed that feeling to grow 
strong within them. It deepened more and more ; it assumed 
a darker and yet a blacker dye. They brooded over it with 
savage delight, and longed for the moment of revenge. For a 
time they sought to gratify this in such a way as might appear 
reconcileable with justice and law j they sought to surprise Him 
in doctrines or expressions that might afford specious grounds 
for a prosecution j they endeavoured to entice Him into actions 
that might be construed into violations of the law. 

In all this there was covert murder ; yet perhaps they hardly 
suspected it. But at last, when every such resource had failed, 
while their hatred and thirst for vengeance increased, blinded 


by their rage, they rushed heedlessly on to the last fatal excess ; 
boldly bought His blood for silver; and after satiating their 
hatred on Him by blows and insults, dragged Him before Pilate, 
and so consummated their revenge by a savage murder. Cain 
hated his brother long before he thought of killing him ; Aman, 
for a trifling slight, magnified by his pride, detested Mordechai, 
and came at length to determine upon causing his death. In 
countless examples we may see the natural connexion, however 
remote it may appear, between entertaining an inward resent 
ment, and the commission of the frightful crime of murder. 

3. Resolutions. " We will therefore be men of peace, lovers 
of our brethren, with hearts and minds overflowing with 
Christian charity and meekness ; ready to suffer any provoca 
tion rather than entertain resentment ; imitators of Christ and 
not of His cruel persecutors. We will avoid all strife, all dis 
sension, all obstinacy in our own opinions ; that so we may cut 
off the occasions of every sin of anger. And Thou, most meek 
and ever suffering Saviour, assist us to overcome the perversity 
of our nature. We are ever prone to be offended or dissatisfied 
with the behaviour of others, from the corruption of a subtle 
pride, or the selfishness of our desires. Purify our hearts, 
therefore, from these evil propensities, the poisonous source of 
so much mischief. Dispose them to peace, adorn them with 
meekness, gentleness, and a forgiving disposition ; that so we 
may not only escape all danger of sin, but order our lives and 
conduct upon the standard of Thy perfect charity." 

Jmtrtfj fHontfj, Scconfc 2Hn:fc. JFrtoag. 
THE PASSION. The Tribunals. Peter s Denial. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your dear Redeemer 
standing as a lamb in the midst of wolves, meek and un 
resisting, though surrounded by a brutal rabble ; and Peter 
standing among the servants of the High Priest. 

1. Reflect what a cruel blow to the Heart of our dear 
Saviour was given by the denial of Peter. He had been 
abandoned indeed by all His apostles. Even John the beloved, 


who was to display singular courage at the foot of the cross, 
and thereby to win the guardianship of Mary, was now at a 
distance ; and it was evidently a part of the sufferings of Jesus 
in this stage of His blessed passion to be utterly abandoned by 
all. Still Peter, the most courageous of the number, as he had 
shown himself in the garden, draws nigh, and ventures into 
the crowd. Surely it must be to bring his loving Master some 
comfort ; to give Him an assurance that his heart and those of 
his companions remain faithful to Him in spite of His present 
ignominy. He is come, surely, to die with Him, if need be. 
Alas ; he is come to disown and to deny Him ! to forswear 
himself by a dreadful and a treacherous untruth, saying that he 
knew not the man. Such is the errand on which Peter is 
come ; to do his kind Master no better service than publicly 
to disavow all connexion with Him ! Such is the only comfort 
brought to Jesus, on that last night, by the most courageous 
and the most zealous of His chosen followers. But then, what 
a wreck of the labours, lessons, and examples of three years ! 
In vain has He been toiling to convince His apostle that the 
Son of Man must suffer, and so to enter into His glory ; that 
He must be delivered into the hands of sinners, mocked, and 
spit upon, and put to death. All these lessons have been 
thrown away. Peter does not know the man ! There are all 
the protestations of the courageous apostle, that even if all 
were to be scandalized in Jesus, he would not, evaporated at 
the sound of a foolish servant s voice ! Yes, and there is the 
solid foundation of Christ s Church, the rock on which He 
willed to build it, melted, like wax, before that fire of the high 
priest s hall ! O what a cruel sight for our Blessed Lord, what 
an aggravation of His sufferings ! How much more poignant 
an infliction than the strokes upon His cheek ! How much 
deeper an insult than the spitting upon His face ! Truly, He 
looked on His right hand and on His left, and not only were 
there none to know Him, but there were some to abjure him ! 
Ah, how often have I done the same, or worse ! How often 
have I denied Jesus by my conduct ! But what a lesson is 
here for me not to run any risks, or expose myself to danger as 
Peter did. He certainly loved Jesus much beyond what I can 
pretend to do ; he had been instructed much better than I in 


the law of his Saviour, he had been provided with richer 
graces ; yet he basely gave way before the first slight tempta 
tion and fell into the blackest of treasons ! What security 
have I that I shall not do worse, if not always on my guard, 
and assiduous in prayer 1 

2. Reflect upon the conduct of your dear Redeemer on this 
painful and trying occasion. Peter was no longer worthy of His 
notice, much less of His affection. He had treated Him most 
ungratefully and most unkindly. Our Lord could in justice 
have abandoned him to his fate. At any rate, He might have 
left him till after his own sufferings were ended, and visited 
him with forgiveness after His resurrection. But no. He 
would not delay a moment to touch his heart ; He would not 
die unreconciled with His former friend. He put aside His 
own sad feelings, He turned upon Peter, from the midst of 
them, one glance of loving reproach and remonstrance, which 
penetrated to the centre of his soul, dissolved the spell which 
had bound him, re-awakened those feelings which fear had 
frozen and benumbed, and brought out, through the flood of 
tears which he shed, the anguish of his repenting soul. Oh, 
what a look that must have been ! a look never, as long as he 
lived, to be effaced from Peter s memory ! What a mild yet 
steady and penetrating glance ! how truly divine ! His 
features are scarcely discernible under the disfiguring influence 
of the outrageous treatment He had received ; but His eye, 
unclouded in its majesty, darts a beam, which passes beyond 
the crowd to the outer hall, and breathes into the very recesses 
of the recreant apostle s heart, and enlightens its darkness with 
a ray of repentance ! But what ineffable goodness, con 
descension, and mercy are here displayed. Surely this alone 
was sufficient to satisfy us how high was the virtue of the Soul 
of our dear Jesus, above all mere human excellence ! After 
this Ml, Peter disappears entirely from the scene of the 
Passion. He was cured of his rashness; and though no 
doubt he would have wished to repair his fault by attendance 
on his kind and forgiving Master, during its last stages, 
yet he had now too well discovered his frailty to venture 
again into danger. To weep at a distance and alone was 
now his only comfort and occupation. Here again is a 



lesson for us, to be warned by our faults to carefulness and 

3. Affections. Imagine to yourself that look of your Saviour 
as cast upon you, and say : " Yes, my good and merciful Jesus, I 
well know and understand that reproving glance, which not once, 
but again and again, Thou hast cast upon me from the midst of 
Thy sufferings when I have offended and denied Thee. Often has 
Thy silent look touched my heart, and moved it to repentance, 
when I remembered what Thou hast endured for love of me, 
and how miserably I have requited it ! How long have I been 
Thy scholar, Thy disciple, admitted to free consort with Thee, 
seated at Thy table ; nay, Thy minister, Thy chosen servant, 
admitted to share with Thy apostles ; and yet I have foully 
denied Thee, in the face of heaven, forgetting Thy love, and 
joining with Thy cruel enemies in persecuting and tormenting 
Thee ! Oh, look then often upon me as Thou then didst upon 
Peter; one such loving and pitiful glance shall do more to 
reclaim me, when wandering, than the flash of Thy lightnings. 
Yes, Thou hast wounded me with one of Thine eyes, my 
Beloved ; Thou hast pierced my soul, and melted all its hard 
ness. And when, by Thy grace, I overcome temptation, or do 
or suffer something for Thy sake \ let me look into that calm, 
loving eye, for Thy bright approval, my only reward. In it I 
shall read my sentence with joy, and receive an earnest of 
what it will one day express to me in Thy eternal bliss/ 

Jmtrtfj JHontfj, 
THE BLESSED YIRGIN. Her love of God. 

1. Reflect, that if the love of God be the most perfect of 
virtues, and one necessary beyond all others to please Him, 
then she whom the archangel pronounced full of grace, and 
blessed among women, must have possessed it beyond all other 
human beings. It was not sufficient for her to have a stronger 
faith, or livelier hope, or deeper humility, or even a more 
perfect purity than all other women, to be chosen for the 
mother of the Incarnate word, without a like pre-eminence in 


that most heavenly of virtues, ardent charity. God could 
never have united Himself so closely to her in the body, with 
out a previous and most perfect union with her soul. But 
with her spotless purity, her profound humility, her lively 
faith, and her constant application to the things of God, how 
was it possible for her not to conceive a livelier and lovelier 
idea of Him than others so inferior to her in these preparatory 
virtues 1 

Oh, who can even imagine the sweet raptures of that soul 
which God had prepared for so intimate a relation with Him 
self; her pure and perfect contemplation of His perfections, 
her vivid apprehension of His mercy and goodness 1 What 
then shall we say when the Holy Ghost, not in fiery tongues upon 
her brow, but with creative energy into her heart and bosom 
descended, and formed within her the Sacred Humanity of the 
Eternal Word. " Spiritus sanctus superveniet in te " He, the 
Giver of every grace, the sevenfold Spirit, life Himself and 
love, occupied and filled the capacity of her soul, penetrated all 
its powers, and, so to speak, absorbed it in His radiance and 
heavenly fire. After this, indeed, what could surpass her love 1 
No archangel s, no seraph s, could approach it. Then, the very 
contemplation of what God had done for her, so far beyond 
what He had done even for these blessed spirits, must have 
produced in her heart a love proportionately more ardent. He 
had raised her, a poor, obscure maiden, to the dignity of being 
mother to His own Son ! He had bestowed upon her the singular 
prerogative of uniting to this sublime maternity the most 
virginal purity ! He had made her to bear His consubstantial 
Son in her bosom ! He had constituted her to be, after that 
Divine Son, the world s boast and richest pearl, the blessed of 
all generations ! And how her heart, so pure, so virtuous, 
must have exulted with grateful love at all these favours 
and excessive bounties ! No one can imagine this love who 
cannot comprehend its motives. But after her Divine Son 
was born to her, how must every action of His blessed life 
have inspired her with new and warmer love towards God, 
who had bestowed upon her so rich a treasure, every day more 
dear and precious in her sight. How must the love which 
burned in the breast of God incarnate, by contact with hers, 

T 2 


already on fire with that heavenly ardour, have increased the- 
name to its utmost intensity. 

2. Reflect how her Son was Himself God, and, con 
sequently, how her love of Him was the love of God. "What 
an abyss, what singularity of affection, is comprised and 
denned in the expression, that Mary alone, of all created 
beings, was able to love God with a mother s love ! When 

O 7 

God would express to us the love which He bears us, infinite 
as it is, incomprehensible to all the united intelligence of earth 
and heaven, He finds no term of comparison more adequate, 
more tender, or more true, than the love of a mother for her 
infant. " Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have- 
pity on the son of her womb?" (Is. xlix. 15.) And such in 
return was the love of Mary for God. "Who can imagine to 
himself the emotions of love with which, having brought Him 
forth without the sorrows and penalties attaching to all 
mothers beside, she took Him for the first time into her arms 
and pressed Him to her lips and heart ! How, through that 
night, did she watch, with insatiable eye, every motion, every 
look of her heavenly Infant ! What an affectionate interest 
she felt, what a part in Him, who was all hers ! Yes, she 
could call Him her own, and He would acknowledge Himself 
such. What a new light of love must have beamed into her 
soul, when, for the first time, He smiled upon her, and showed 
that He knew her ! And when aroused in the night by 
Joseph, with the news that they must flee without delay into 
Egypt to save the Child s life, how did she press Him closer 
and closer to her bosom, and resolve that no harm should reach 
Him except it first pierced her ! How gladly would she have 
given her life to save His, if need be ! What a day of love 
must that have been to her heart, when the Divine Child who 
condescended to feed on honey and milk like other children, 
though possessing infinite wisdom, first opened His lips, and 
lisped the name of "Mother;" when she for the first time,, 
and she the first person on earth, heard the Word of the Father 
speak ! How were all the sufferings and afflictions of her 
banishment compensated in that one tender address, in that 
only word ! And afterwards, who can measure the love which 
this most affectionate of mothers felt from morning till night- 


.at seeing, hearing, having always beside her, this all-perfect and 
loving yet divine Son ! Without an anxiety, a clouding 
thought for His education, His conduct, or His health ; know 
ing who He was, she had no alloy of feelings, such as vex other 
parents, to check the pure flow of simple and undivided love. 
One mixture of bitterness indeed there was, but it was one 
which only increased her affection. It was not only the sword 
which Simeon had already, by his prophecy, planted at her 
heart, but the full knowledge and constant thought that this 
her dear Son, whom she now pressed, an infant, or a boy, to her 
bosom, should one day be so barbarously treated, so brutally 
tormented, so cruelly slain ! And all this was to happen in 
her presence, under her very eye ! Oh, what intensity did 
this painful foresight add to her affection ! How much more 
did she prize the treasure that she was for so short a time to 
enjoy ! How did she love Him the more, when He bade her 
not weep, or be disconsolate on His account ; that they should 
soon be happy together in His Father s house ! And what 
shall we say of the anguish of love with which she stood under 
His cross, and heard His last kind words to her, or when she 
received into her lap his lifeless, emaciated form ! Truly, 
never was love so perfected in the extremes of joy and sorrow, 
those two great sources of affection, than hers at Bethlehem, 
fit Nazareth, and on Calvary. 

3. Affections. " O dear and ever blessed Virgin, Mother of 
love, too dull and insensible are our hearts, too filled with 
irregular desires, and too overgrown with earthly thoughts and 
iiffections, ever to comprehend the purity, the perfection, the 
immensity of thy charity towards God, whether in heaven, or 
as present to thee on earth. All the world else was as nothing 
to thee, compared with Him alone. If He did great things for 
thee, thou didst return Him some proportion, at least, in 
gratitude and affection. But I, who have been loaded with 
His benefits in body and soul, remain cold and insensible, and 
offer Him no sort of return. Oh ! do thou then, who from thy 
very love for thy Jesus hast so tender an affection for us, His 
brethren, who canst never forget His last commendation of us 
to thee upon the cross, obtain for us a few sparks of thy love, 
that we may love Him, our brother, with a fraternal affection. 


We, too, are thy children, we have a place in thy bosom ; 
warm, then, our hearts in the frequent meditation of thy 
charity and love, that so we may learn to love Him in some 
degree as we ought. And thus also shall our affections to thee 
be increased for who can love Him and not love thee, who 
didst nurse and cherish Him so long, that to thy cost He might 
save us 1" 

Jmtrtfj fffitorttfj, Cfjirfc TOcefc. 
THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On the Sanctification it bestows. 

1. Reflect how, in the Old Law, those men were considered 
as sanctified who came in contact with holy things. The priests 
of the tabernacle were held as privileged with peculiar holiness, 
because allowed and commissioned to handle the sacred vessels, 
enter the sanctuary, and offer up sacrifices. Yet all that was 
thus reckoned to sanctify them by mere proximity, or by actual 
contact, was a mere type and shadow of that which we touch 
in the adorable Eucharist. Hence, whoever presumed to eat of 
a sacrifice while labouring under a legal uncleanness, was guilty 
of a grievous transgression. Yet what inherent holiness could 
there be in the flesh of goats or calves, that such a state of 
cleanness should be required in those who partook of it 1 But 
we, in the Sacrament of the Altar, possess the true treasure 
of inherent sanctity, His sacred flesh and blood, Who alone 
essentially and of right possesses all grace, all virtue, all power 
in heaven and 011 earth, and all perfection. In Him is wisdom 
unclouded, in Him knowledge uncircumscribed, in Him the 
fulness of the Godhead bodily dwelling. And Him do we here 
touch, Him do we bear in our hands, nay, wonderful to tell, 
Him do we receive into our bosoms as our true food and nourish 
ment. When He was on earth, we read of His sacred Body, 
" quia virtus ab illo exibat et sanabat omnes :" to such an extent, 
that His very garments partook of it, and were able to com 
municate it ; so that as many as but touched the hem of His 
garment were made whole. How much greater then must be 
the virtue which goes forth from His glorified Body, a virtue 


not to heal so much the body as the soul of all its infirmities. 
Here we are not left merely to that outward emanation which 
spread itself on every side, nor to the contact of the raiment of 
the Son of God, as was the woman with the flux of blood, nor 
even to the touch of his hand, as the children in the gospel 
were, or of His feet as Magdalen, or of His side as Thomas, or 
of His bosom as John ; but we touch, and hold, and embrace, 
and intimately possess as our own his entire, blessed Self, with 
all His qualities, human and divine, and all His perfections. 
Neither are we limited, as these privileged persons were, to His 
outward form, and merely allowed to approach Him externally 
but we have Him entire, as our Divine indwelling Guest. See 
what sanctification all these drew from their outward contact 
with Jesus. Of the children so favoured, one is supposed to 
have been the Blessed Martyr Ignatius, second only to S. Paul 
in his love of the Cross, and to his master S. John in his love 
of Jesus ; Magdalen obtained at His feet remission of her sins ; 
Thomas from His side a most lively faith ; John from His breast 
an inexhaustible well of love divine, which overflowed to all 
the world. What, then, should be the sanctification, what the 
heavenly virtues, that we might naturally expect to derive 
from possessing Jesus whole and entire, and that every day ! 

2. But further, reflect to what a distance men go to visit the 
holy sepulchre of Christ. Armies of men have abandoned 
their homes, and braved all perils by sea and land, to wrest its 
possession from the hands of infidels. Crowds of pilgrims have 
gone for ages every year, at many risks, to visit the holy place ; 
and they weep with joy when first they see it, and kiss its stones 
with raptures of devotion. And why all this feeling towards 
that chamber in the rock 1 Because, they will tell you, it has 
been consecrated and sanctified by having contained the Body 
of Christ. Yes, but His body, lifeless and bloodless and soul 
less ; His body in ignominy and dishonour ; His body mangled 
and gored like that of a malefactor ! Oh, what a place of 
pilgrimage has each of us in his own breast, after having re 
ceived into it the Body of Jesus, and harboured it there, 
triumphant and glorious, full of energy, full of life, animated 
by that Divine Soul that has only thoughts of peace and 
salvation for us ! How much more august a place is the 


Christian s heart which his Saviour has chosen for His dwelling ! 
Well then may we each ask ourselves the question : how is it that 
I, so often honoured by these heavenly visits, so often not only 
in contact with, but in actual possession of, this source of holi 
ness, am not sanctified 1 Could I take a live coal into my hand, 
and not be warmed, yea, burnt with its heat ? And yet can I 
take into my breast, time after time, day after day, this flame of 
love, this essence of all purity and sanctification, and still 
remain so languid in the service of my God, so fainthearted in 
His battles, so inconstant in my endeavours, so cold in His 
love ? Surely, I can but little apprehend and esteem what I 
am doing when I draw nigh to Him, that so small effects should 
result from such powerful means ! " Qui sanctus est, sancti- 
ficetur adhuc." Such is the gospel rule ; it would be an use 
less precept, if adequate means had not been furnished us for 
daily advancing higher and higher in the way of holiness ; and 
where has this been done so effectually as in furnishing us with 
this bread of the strong, which repairs our strength, and re 
freshes us after all our trials and falls, and bestows upon us 
new ardour and holy desires ? For, if we had not this, in what 
could we hope ? In our prayers, or works, which themselves 
need constant application of remedies to heal their many im 
perfections ? In our meditations, or acts of fervour and sorrow 
ful repentance, so distracted and so faint 1 No ; but here we 
have the source of grace and mercy and forgiveness put, so to 
speak, at our entire disposal, to profit by to the full, for our 
advancement in holiness, and towards eternal salvation. 

3. Affections. "Dear and bountiful Saviour, who, not content 
with expiring upon a cross for love of me, hast given me in 
this adorable Sacrament the very price of my redemption, that 
ever Blessed Body and Blood which wrought it for me, how 
shall I not merely thank Thee, but study to profit by a present 
of such inestimable value? What language or teaching of 
man can so humble and inflame my soul, and teach me virtue, 
as the devout and humble participation of this heavenly gift 1 
In the centre of my breast Thou shalt daily set up Thy chair 
of blessed charity, teaching me to do Thy holy will, to keep 
Thy commandments, and to strive after the attainment of every 
virtue. There will I be Thy humble scholar, and learn those 


blessed instructions. Or rather, I will endeavour from the very 
presence and touch of Thy sacred Body to derive strength and 
vigour for Thy dear service, and to catch a few sparks of that 
divine love which burns within Thee. Oh, let me not any 
longer use this wonderful gift with so little profit ; but let me 
daily increase in holiness, and so again be every day more fit to 
approach Thy sacred banquet of strength and love." 

JFourtlj fHontlj, Cfjivti 22cck. j 
LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Torments (same subject}. 

Preparation. Imagine to yourself the pool of fire, wherein 
the souls of the damned are tossed to and fro. 

1. Reflect how, according to the general belief of spiritual 
writers, grounded upon Holy Writ, besides the general punish 
ment of fire, which will afflict all the damned, there will be 
other torments, proportioned to the evil gratifications in which 
the senses and faculties of man have indulged during his career 
of sin. For the sentence on the wicked Babylon said : "As 
much as she hath glorified herself, and hath been in delicacies, 
so much torment and sorrow give unto her." (Apoc. xviii. 7.) 
And as the lex talionis in the old law punished an injury on 
the hand, in the hand, one on the eye, in the eye, of him who 
perpetrated it, " an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," 
so is it just that, every part and every sense of our mortal frame 
having been given to us as a means of serving God, the abuse 
of it, which is its injury, should receive a corresponding punish 
ment. If we have abused the eye which God gave us, and 
made it offend Him, the eye which will belong to us, when 
abandoned by God, shall be punished as it deserves. And so 
of every delicacy we have pampered our body with, we can 
say truly that it shall have its corresponding torment. As, 
therefore, the manna, though one, did yet, as the Jewish 
doctors after Scripture assure us, contain and present all that 
is delicious (omne delectamentum) and " the sweetness of every 
taste" (Wisd. xvi. 21), so will the fire of that dreadful place be 
so prepared by God s justice as to cause every sort of pain, and 


have the bitterness of every possible evil. It shall parch the 
palate, and shrivel up the tongue like parchment, and gnaw the 
vitals, and make the throat like a tube of iron, and thus cause a 
most intense and rabid hunger and thirst. Hence in Scripture 
the rich man asks for only one drop of water on the tip of the 
finger of Lazarus to cool his tongue, " quid crucior" he says, 
" in hacflamma" What a thirst must that have been which 
hoped to find relief in even so small a refreshment ! Yet even 
this was denied him ! And to this day he continues to ask the 
same boon, and it continues to be refused ! And why did he 
complain of this part of his punishment in particular] Because 
he had been a glutton and a drunkard upon earth ; he had 
" received good things;" he had feasted sumptuously every day. 
See what a just proportion between sin and its punishment. In 
like manner, the ears that have listened to luxurious music or 
to profane discourse shall be penetrated by the burning atmo 
sphere of that dungeon, bearing with it the howls of pain, the 
groans of sorrow, the yells of despair, the insults and mockeries 
of demons, the blasphemies and execrations of the lost. The 
same flame shall penetrate the nostrils to the very brain, for 
having loved soft, effeminate odours ; it shall bring the sul 
phurous vapour of its fuel, and the pestilential exhalations and 
insufferable stench of the carcases that broil in the midst of it. 
To the hands it shall be as nails of fire; to the wrists and arms, 
burning manacles ; to the feet, red-hot gyves. To the eyes, 
while it fries them in their sockets in exquisite pain, it shall 
present horrible phantoms, disgusting shapes, images of despair, 
the likeness of all that they loathe, the portraits of all that cry 
to heaven for vengeance, and the forms of most detestable 
demons ! Nor does the sacred text spare to mingle in this 
revelation the most contrary elements of vengeance intense 
cold with the scorching heat. " Ignis, grando, nix, glades, 
spiritus procellarum, pars calicis eorum" We, indeed, cannot 
conceive how fire and snow can thus torment together ; but it 
is God who is here the terrible executioner of His own justice, 
and who wields the obedient elements of His own creation to 
punish His foes. 

2. Reflect how all this only affects, at least directly, the 
inferior part of man, that which has been the servant and 


instrument, rather than the agent or cause in the accursed 
work of sin. The faculties of the soul, the affections of the 
heart, which have been the true culprits, must suffer in like 
manner. They were all given us to be employed in God s 
service, and they have been used to His dishonour; their 
sorrows, therefore, like the torments of the body, must be 
proportioned to their evil indulgence. How will the memory 
be tormented by every possible recollection ! By the remem 
brance of sin in all its enormity, now measured upon its true 
standard : by the memory of former luxury, as the cause of 
present suffering ; its soft couches, remembered upon a bed of 
fire ; its banquets and delicacies, in a racking hunger and 
thirst ; its polished circle of friends, amidst heaps of reprobate 
bodies salted with fire : by the remembrance of graces received 
and rejected, of good learnt and not practised, of warnings 
given and despised : by the memory of virtue once followed, of 
God once known, of heaven once theirs. How vividly will the 
imagination see represented in those flames, as we do in summer 
clouds at sunset, all sorts of golden visions succeeding one 
another in endless variety ; of goods that might have been 
possessed, bub have been irretrievably lost ! How will reason 
and the understanding torture the soul, by representing to it 
the righteousness of God s decree of eternal damnation ! Then, 
oh ! who can bear to look into one of those hearts ? As a nest 
of coiled adders hissing and stinging one another, and twining 
their slimy bodies in clusters of tangled and loathsome con 
fusion, so are the affections (could they be so called) of the 
hearts of the damned ! What once were love, friendship, 
honour, kindness, and other good feelings, are now changed into 
hatred, abhorrence, and despair, which gnaw and tear the black 
and festered heart in which they have been engendered. What 
a racking torment, what a tumultuous confusion, what a hell in 
the bosom will that heart be ! And in the same manner 
every other power and faculty will be aggrieved. The will 
fixed in a perverse, unchangeable purpose of evil, while it knows 
the loathsomeness of sin, will find itself powerless to shake off 
or renounce it ; but will be as a man in a nightmare, that sees 
and feels a hideous monster pressing upon his breast, and 
loathes it ; yet is as though spellbound, unable to move a finger 


to throw it off ! Oh, what a frightful place ! What an abhorred 
condition ! 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " And I have deserved it, 
not once, but again and again ! Had I received my due, had 
I been treated as thousands and millions have been in the 
meantime, I should have long since been in this utter and 
hopeless misery, writhing under these frightful torments ! 
What a merciful God have I ! What a Father rather than 
Judge I have found him ! But if I offend Him again, it may 
not be so ! He may yield to the claims of justice, and treat 
me as He has treated others : then, what becomes of me 1 
No great and just, but, to me, ever merciful God I hope it 
shall never be so. I ask Thee not so much to spare me if I 
offend Thee ; rather I entreat Thee never to let me sin 
any more. It is not so much hell and its torments that I 
hate, but the cause which must condemn me to it : Thy curse 
and abhorrence. These I am determined, with the assistance 
of Thy grace, never, never again to incur. For how must 
Thou ha,te sin, if Thou couldst condemn me to hell for eternity 
if I commit it j me, whom Thou hast loved so tenderly ! But 
now I am firmly resolved never to go down into that place 
of torments, where ray heart would be estranged from Thee, 
where my soul would not be able to love Thee, where my 
tongue must blaspheme Thee for all eternity. ~No I I will 
never incur a doom, so horrible. 1 will cleave to Thee, my 
<lear Saviour ; I will cling to the skirts of Thy garment. I 
will embrace Thy blessed Feet, and I will never let Thee go. 
Where Thou art, there will I also be ; for Thou art my joy, 
my only hope, my sole life ; and I am Thy poor child, Thy 
servant, Thy minister. Uli ego sum, Thou Thyself hast 
; said, * ibi et minister meus erit. " 


JFourtfj IHonttj, CijivtJ &cck. Eucsfcau. 

Ministers of the Eucharist. 

1. Reflect on the great dignity of our priesthood from its 
principal characteristic, the ministry of the blessed Eucharist. 
Our priesthood, being of the same order as that of Christ, the 
High Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech, we 
are appointed to make the same oblation. It is, therefore, a 
ministry of untold, of ineffable power. For in us is lodged the 
power of pronouncing those sacred words, whereby the bread 
and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. 
Now, this is a change no less miraculous, and certainly much 
more sublime, than that whereby Moses turned his rod into 
a serpent ; and consequently the power which effected it is no 
less. Yet we think of Moses as of a man privileged with 
immense power, because he performed that sign, or changed 
rivers into blood ; while the invisible change which daily takes 
place in our hands, though far more magnificent, and in the 
eyes of angels far more divine, passes unnoticed, and strikes 
our minds but seldom and little. For, consider what an awful 
exercise of power this is, to bring down the Lord of Heaven 
into our hands at our will ; to have Him in a manner obedient 
to our words. When Mary used to call her dear Jesus to her, 
He flew no doubt with joyful countenance and a light step to 
her side ; and that ready obedience was accompanied and 
guided by love. In this way, too, does He come at the bidding 
of the good priest, in the consecration of this adorable Sacra 
ment. But He obeyed His executioners no less promptly, 
when they commanded Him, with no love certainly, to extend 
Himself upon the cross, to stretch forth His Hands to be tied 
to the pillar, or nailed to the cross. And in the same manner 
does He obey the summons of the wicked priest, who loves Him 
not, yet has authority to call Him down to be in a manner 
crucified again by his hands, in an unworthy consecration and 
communion. What a terrible power ! Still, how does it prove 
the awful dignity and elevation of the Christian priesthood, 
which thus, independently of merit or virtue, can by His own 


appointment command the Son of God. But if ours be a 
ministry of power, it is yet more a ministry of grace. What a 
high dignity is ours, of daily bearing in our hands the true 
Body of the Lord Jesus, that very Body which Joseph of 
Arimathea thought it an honour to embalm with costly spices 
and fine linen when dead ; and which the Blessed Virgin was 
the happiest of creatures for having enjoyed the privilege of 
bearing in her womb and in her bosom ; and which holy 
Simon was content to die, after taking into his arms ? Angels 
have not been admitted to this honour ; as the Fathers have 
constantly remarked, in exalting the dignity of this our priest 
hood. Then, to consecrate the blessed chalice, and to raise up 
in our hands, to the adoration of men and angels, the very 
adorable Blood that flowed from the side of Jesus upon Calvary ! 
To offer this up to the Eternal Father for our own sins and 
those of the whole world ! To have at our disposal, a treasure 
of sufficient value to ransom a million of worlds ! Yet further, 
contemplate the privilege and honour of being allowed daily 
use of these adorable mysteries, as our food ; to have our lips 
daily purpled with the Blood of Christ, our bodies daily incor 
porated with His ! "What sources of blessing and mercy are 
here at our disposal ! And what an abundant flow of these 
benefits should there constantly be into our hearts ! 

2. Reflect upon the familiarity into which this our ministry 
of the Eucharist brings us with God. We become " the men 
of His tabernacle ;" the daily companions of His table ; ad 
mitted to partake of His delicious food, as though it were our 
own ordinary sustenance. This, in the world, is the strongest 
proof of intimacy. To have our place at any one s table, so 
as to be every day a welcome guest, places us on the footing of 
one of the family, makes us in a manner children of the house. 
And such is the relation which we have with our God, through 
this adorable Sacrament. Now, if any of us were on such 
terms, not with one in the same rank, not with a fellow-subject 
in a higher condition, but with a powerful sovereign, so that 
we were from day to day expected to appear at his table as a 
guest, and should be gently chid, if remiss in our attendance ; 
how the rest of men would grow envious and jealous of us, and 
begin to scrutinize what claims or pretensions we had to so 


signal a mark of favour ! Yet here are we, by our very 
ministry, admitted to such high distinction, that every day we 
are expected to be as youthful olives round the table of God. 
Yet how little," in comparison, do we value this prerogative! 
How seldom do we meditate on it, or express our gratitude 
to God for His bounty and condescension to us ! Reflect fur 
ther upon that rightful boast of the Jewish lawgiver, " nee eat 
alia natio tarn grandis, quce habeat deos appropinquantes sibi 
sicut Deus nosier adest nobis " (Dent. iv. 7) ; and see how 
much beyond the truth of that assertion our privileges go. 
God was indeed the guide and protector of the Jews ; but He 
was not their tender friend as He is ours in this most holy 
Sacrament of love. He was their host, giving them bread from 
the clouds, and preparing for them a table in the wilderness, 
but He was not their food, the true manna which came down 
from heaven, the Bread of life. As much nearer, then, is He 
to us than He was to the Jews, as food is more intimate to the 
body that receives, than the giver who bestows it. If, then, 
they made the manna into which He fed them such a ground 
for grateful acknowledgment, how much more should we, 
favoured as we are so far beyond them ? 

3. Affections. " When, my dear Saviour, I would contem 
plate Thee as most condescending to Thy disciples, and as 
bringing them most closely to the condition of Thy familiar 
friends, it is at Thy last banquet with them, when Thou didst 
admit them to recline beside Thee, and even to lean upon Thy 
bosom. Much higher does the Apostles dignity there appear, 
than when they received from Thee power to cast out devils, 
and perform the most marvellous works. And to this 
same familiar intercourse with Thyself dost Thou admit me, 
the most unworthy; and that, not only once, as Thou didst them, 
but daily. And who am I, that I shoiild be so distinguished 
and honoured by Thee ? A vile worm of the earth, dust and 
ashes, and, what is infinitely worse, a most despicable and 
wretched sinner ! Quid est homo, quod memor es ejus, aut 
flius hominis, quoniam visitas eum ? And among the chil 
dren of men, what am I, that Thou shouldst have singled me 
out for such special mercies ; I, who have been more ungrateful 
than the rest, who have shown myself unworthy of Thy choice 


by my lukewarrrmess and indifference 1 And yet Thou art 
mindful of me, and visitest me every day in Thy adorable 
Sacrament ; entering within me, and taking up Thy abode 
with me. I have Thee daily in my hand, and touch Thy 
adorable Body ! What excess of goodness on Thy part, and of 
ungrateful coldness on mine ! Oh, let me henceforth love and 
bless Thee, adore and revere Thee with greater fervour and 
increased devotion, mindful of Thy mercies in having raised 
me from the dung-hill to sit at Thy table with the princes 
of Thy people!" 

JFourtfj fHontlj, (Efjirfc TOerft. 

Humility (same subject). 

1 . Reflect, if (as we have seen) the beginning and end of our 
Saviour s life, his birth and death, were the most complete and 
very utmost acts of humility that could be conceived, the 
entire interval between these two extremes, both in His 
private and His public life, was also a succession of acts of this 
virtue. He showed forth, indeed, thus incessantly, that favourite 
virtue, which He would have His followers most specially 
imitate. " Discite a me, quia mitis sum et liutnilis corde." 
From the beginning of His private life, we find Him seeking 
and preferring poverty, obscurity, and neglect. He lived with 
His mother and reputed father at Nazareth, in an humble 
cottage, working at a mean trade, looked upon by all His 
neighbours, and perhaps by many of His relations (for we are 
told that His own brethren believed not in Him), as one of 
themselves, more virtuous, no doubt, and holier far, but still a 
poor man, one of their own class. Yet, all this time, had He 
so willed, He might have been splendidly lodged, richly 
attended and served, and magnificently attired. But humility 
was His favourite virtue, therefore the opposite of all these things 
was his choice. Afterwards, when He had quitted the car 
penter s roof at Nazareth to commence His public career, He 
still preserved in the details of His life, the same humble 


poverty and abjection. " The foxes of the earth," He could 
say, " have their holes, but the Son of Man hath not where to 
lay His head." He travelled from place to place as a poor 
pilgrim, on foot. When He would eat the paschal lamb with 
His apostles at Jerusalem, He had recourse to the kindness of 
a stranger. He had no money to pay the annual tribute, but 
sent Peter to take a fish, in the mouth of which he found a 
coin for the purpose. He lived with His poor disciples as one 
of themselves, humble and unpretending. One common purse 
was carried for them all by Judas, filled, if ever it was, by the 
alms of believers. A little fish and bread, or honeycomb, 
seems to have been with them a delicate feast (Luke xxiv. 42) ; 
and often, as in the desert, they seem to have had no provision 
at all with them. They address Him with familiarity re 
spectful indeed, but still a proof of the humble and gentle 
character of His bearing towards them. Out of this circle, 
publicans and sinners were His favoured companions, to the 
amazement and pharisaic scandal of some observers. He 
lodged by preference with Zacchreus the publican. He sate at 
Matthew s table, and doubtless in the midst of them ; He loved 
Magdalen s tears better than the Pharisee s entertainment. In 
short, whatever we know of the private, daily life of Jesus, 
shows Him to have preferred what was abject, humble, and 
despised in the eyes of men, to what was, and yet is, considered 
by them noble, honourable, and glorious. What a blessed 
virtue this must be, which Jesus so greatly cherished ! 

2. Reflect how much more striking was the humility of His 
public life. His very first miracle was an example of this. 
He wrought it, in a manner, secretly ; so that the master of the 
feast knew nothing of it. How often did He enjoin those 
whom He healed to see that they told no man : how often He 
sent them to a distance for their cure as the lepers to the 
priests, and the blind man to the pool of Siloe as if to diminish 
by these intermediate acts the glory of His own work. How, 
when He came down from the glorious transfiguration on 
Thabor, He strictly commanded the three chosen witnesses of 
it, " Visionem neinini dixeritis, donee Filius hominis resurrexerit 
a, mortuis" Nay, He even rebuked the devils whom. He cast 
out for publishing abroad His name and glory. Thus did His 



humility struggle with His omnipotence for concealment ; and 
while He could not but display His power, He studied to 
shroud it from public view. When these His wonderful 
deeds and the wisdom of His words were followed by the 
admiration of men, He fled from their sight. When they would 
have made Him king, He escaped from their hands, as He 
did when they would have cast Him down the precipice. On 
other occasions, He embarked on the sea, or took refuge in the 
wilderness. In His teachings, too, what wonderful humility ! 
how He disclaims those titles to which He had every right. 
He would not be called " Good Master" but wished the 
epithet to be reserved to His Father. He was always incul 
cating that the doctrines of deep wisdom, and the sublime 
faith which He taught, were not His, but His Father s ; though 
He had indeed every right to call them His own, for all the 
Father s things were His. "Omnia Patris mei mea sunt" Thus 
did He in every way disclaim all praise, and only seek to give 
glory to the Father who had sent Him into the world. What 
an example of humility did He give us in washing His 
disciples feet ! kneeling before them, and serving them as 
though He were their menial ! What humility in His 
baptism ! How humble through all His passion, undergoing 
studied insult and unprecedented malice without murmur or 
complaint. What humility in His prayer for His tormentors, 
in all His demeanour towards the two thieves upon the cross ! 
What unheard-of humility in receiving Judas s detestable kiss ! 
In a word, if the death of Jesus was in itself the sublimest act 
of humility, every word and action that accompanied it bore 
deep impression of this virtue. 

3. Affections. " Truly, O most dear Saviour, if any one of Thy 
virtues should be dearer to me than the rest, it should be this ; 
not only because it was so much Thy favourite, but also be 
cause it brings Thee the more within our reach. I am a poor 
sinner, a publican before Thee. How should I have dared to ap 
proach or to address Thee if Thy conversation had not by prefer 
ence been ever among such 1 If I had ever seen Thee seated at 
the tables of the rich and noble, and such as Magdalen not allowed 
to break in upon the splendour of the banquet, how should I 
have hoped to find place at Thy feet, to wash them, as I daily 


desire to do, with my tears 1 If Thy miracles had been all per 
formed before crowds, and for the sight of multitudes, how could 
I have hoped that Thou wouldst ever descend into the poor 
dwelling of my heart, there to heal me sick and like to die 
without Thy aid ? No ; I can love Thee, humble and lowly, 
poor and despised, with more of a brother s love. I can be 
familiar with Thee as were Thy apostles. I can sit down at 
Thy heavenly banquet without fear or restraint, knowing that 
such sinful but penitent creatures as I were ever welcome there 
during Thy sacred life. Blessed then be this Thy humility, 
and exalted for all eternity above the heavens, by us whom it 
hath redeemed !" 

Jourtfj fftontfj, fyir& 8Beek. QHjurstog. 

MISSIONARY DUTIES. On Zeal for God s Law and Kingdom. 
[For His truth and honour.] 

1. Reflect how zealous were the prophets of old, when they 
saw the law and covenant of their God broken and neglected 
by their people ; and how they desired rather to die than 
witness it. Elias cast himself under the juniper tree in the 
wilderness, and prayed : "It is enough for me, Lord ; take 
away my life" (3 Reg. xix. 4) ; and when twice asked by God 
what he did there, he each time replied : " With zeal ha ye I 
been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts ; for the children of 
Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, they have thrown down 
Thy altars" (10, 14). Such is the feeling which should ani 
mate a minister of God, still more, under the new law : a burn 
ing zeal for the law of his God filling him with just indignation 
at the way in which men, insensible to its beauty and grace, 
trample upon it, violate it, or at least neglect it. " Quis scan- 
dalizatur, et ego non uror ? " asks the zealous Paul. "Who is led 
into sin, without my being on fire ? And, did we love the law 
of our God as he did, were we enamoured of its beauty even 
as the patriarchs and prophets were with the law of fear, we 
should feel the same holy flame. See how David speaks ever 
of this divine law, as sweeter to him than honey and the honey- 


comb, as more precious than gold and topaz, as a light to his feet, 
as wisdom, prudence, justice, and whatever is most excellent. 
It was his meditation, his portion, his joy, his delight. Oh, if 
we should meditate on it as he did, and feel towards it as 
he did, how would our hearts weep to see it so little known 
and so little loved by men ! How should we labour to make 
its beauty known, and prized somewhat more as it deserves ! 
For let us see how God answered His prophet, when that 
prophet s zeal led him to fly into the wilderness, and throw him 
self down, and ask to die from very grief of heart. " And the 
Lord said to him : Go, and return on thy way through the 
desert to Damascus" (v. 15). He seems to chide him for 
giving way to his feelings, and bid him be up and doing, and 
thus avenge the covenant and law of God, the violation of 
which he so lamented. And so will God say to us, if, contented 
with mere indignation, we weep indeed over the sin of 
Judah, and the prevarications of Jerusalem, but gird not up 
our loins like men to heal their sores, and bind up the broken 
testimony. On the contrary, let our love of the beauty of God s 
law, of His merciful commandments, of .His sweet burden and 
His gracious covenant, be to us ever an incitement to press 
them upon men, to inculcate their importance as well as their 
many charms, and to spread 011 every side the practice and 
observance of them. Thus shall we indeed show ourselves to 
be truly His ministers, to whose guardianship He has com 
mitted His precepts; servants who labour not merely from 
fear of punishment, or hope of reward, but from a pure dis 
interested love of what they uphold and recommend. 

2. Reflect how great should be our zeal for the coming and 
spread of that kingdom for which we have been taught by our 
Lord Himself daily to pray. If we truly love Christ, we must 
earnestly desire Him to be the king over the hearts of all men, 
even as we have declared Him to be over ours. We must 
desire Him to reign, without a rival, over all kingdoms, and 
over all influences which sway the persons or the minds of 
men. It behoves us to remember that as missionaries sent 
forth by the Church of God into our own country, we are 
appointed to the great work of its conversion. The spouse of 
Christ anxiously desires to see that portion of her children 


whom error has miserably deceived, brought back to her unity ; 
she can never cease her endeavours to gain them to the fold of 
truth. And how does she try to effect this her holy purpose ? 
By no other means than through the instrumentality of those 
whom she sends among such wanderers, with the glorious title 
of apostolic missionaries, to labour by word and work to 
restore them to her bosom. They are sent to the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel, to seek and to save. They are the sworn 
soldiers of Christ s kingdom, commissioned to extend its fron 
tiers, and bring as many as possible under its sway. Our 
mission is not merely to comfort, to strengthen, nor even simply 
to add to, the special flock or congregation committed to our 
care ; but, in addition to all this, to exercise the more general 
charge of bringing back, if possible, all strayed sheep to the 
fold. We must, therefore, enlarge to the utmost the sphere of 
our usefulness and of our labours. Our zeal must expand to 
its utmost power, so as to comprehend in its exertions every 
object that can tend to the enlargement of Christ s kingdom, 
and every individual who can possibly be brought into it. 

If, animated with this spirit, looking upon ourselves and 
our ministry in this noble light, we enter upon it with the 
generous intention of labouring, not merely for the partial 
benefit of individuals or congregations, but for the work of 
general conversion of all such as in any part of our country are 
in error, and for the general revival of Catholic feeling and 
Catholic practice throughout the island, we shall indeed largely 
partake of the apostolic spirit, and may expect a more copious 
and proportionate share of benediction upon our labours. We 
shall consider ourselves not as individual agents only, but still 
more as parts of a great and powerful whole, labouring under 
the direction of the Church for the holy and perfect work of 
our country s conversion. 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " What a blessed and what a 
noble object have we then before us ! What a sublime aim ! 
What an encouraging and most consoling vocation ! Cham 
pions of our ever-living Lord, soldiers of the Invincible, we go 
forth, like Himself, to conquer, and to conquer the world. Let 
us then bear upon our foreheads, and upon the hem of our 
garments, His name written, as a badge and memorial of the 


calling whereunto He has called us, and of the errand 
whereon He has sent us. Yes, blessed Lord, I am Thy 
servant, without an object in this world, without any direc 
tion, to my labours, save that of spreading the fire which 
Thou earnest upon earth to kindle ; the love of Thy sacred law, 
and a burning zeal in its cause, and the more blessed flame of 
charity, by the union of all men, under Thy headship, in a 
common faith. Look down, then, upon this our little detach 
ment, which is here at a distance preparing itself for the con 
test, as the inhabitants of Midian retired into the desert, there 
to gather strength, before coping with the armies of Antiochus. 
Here let us imbibe a thorough knowledge of the practical 
benefits of a system completely Catholic, and of the spirit it 
gives, that so we may bear it in our hearts, and on our lips, for 
the spiritual profit and blessing of many. Here let us arm 
ourselves, and prepare our weapons to fight Thy battles with 

Jmtrtfj fffontfj, &f)ir& S2Ecck. jfrtoag. 

THE PASSION. THE PRJETORIUM. Our Saviour is Crowned 
with Thorns. [Same subject .] 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your blessed Redeemer, 
after being crowned with thorns, presented by Pilate to the 

1. Reflect what a woful spectacle your dear Saviour now 
presents, gored and rent by the thorny crown which encircles 
and covers His Head, and draws forth His sacred Blood on 
every side. But turning your thoughts, for a moment, from 
the pain He suffers, and that so willingly, for our sake, con 
sider how ungratefully earth made good its curse in His 
instance. The first Adam was condemned to till and cultivate 
it, and be rewarded for the sweat of his brow spent in the task 
by briers and thorns. And so the second Adam, having come 
down for the true cultivation of this world, by planting in it 
holiness and truth, and scattering over it the precious seed of 
His word, was repaid, as might have been expected from its 
ungrateful soil, by receiving from it, not in the sweat, but in 


the Blood of His brow, its natural growth, a harvest of thorns. 
O earth, earth ! object of our love, and of our desires, our idol, 
our enthralling mistress, even thus dost thou requite those that 
labour for thee even unto loss of ease, of health, of life. Even 
thus didst thou repay thy Lord and Master, Him who watered 
thee and gave the increase. And can I hope for better treat 
ment, if I am faithful and devoted to His ministry 1 Welcome 
this, and all else that comes to me from the world, while in 
such blessed company. But our Divine Lord had in some sort 
prepared us for such a requital, when, in the parable of the 
seed, He spoke of the riches and solicitudes of this world as 
thorns which choke the good seed and destroy it. If, then, He 
desired to receive from the earth a diadem most expressive of 
all that it can give, the crown of its universal dominion, He 
could not better have symbolized it than by this crown of 
thorns. Yes, when earth has bestowed upon us all the desires 
of our corrupt hearts, all its perishable goods, its honours, its 
fame, and its wealth, it has done no more for us than gird our 
heads with a circle of thorns, that bear their racking torments 
even to our pillows, and will keep the weary head from finding 
repose. Such an emblem, then, did Jesus rightly choose for all 
that earth could bestow upon Him. But it is not merely the 
diadem of all the world which He bore upon His head on this 
His coronation day. He comes not so much to the world at 
large as to each of our souls. Suppose, then, He had come to 
win our love, decked out in the splendid array of empire, what 
could it have added to His dignity I What could a golden and 
jewelled crown have added of grace and majesty to that brow? 
What could the rich diadem that David made from the spoils 
of Melchom (1 Paral. xx. 2) have contributed to the dignity 
and authority of His sovereignty 1 Or what additional radi 
ance would a glory of light have bestowed upon the essential 
splendour of His Divine Person 1 But when He comes to 
each of us with a wreath of thorns, assumed through love of us, 
every jewel of which is a drop of His own most precious Blood, 
worth a world s ransom, and moreover a pledge of forgiveness 
and of blessing bestowed upon us, who will not consider this as 
the bridal crown of this " Sponsus sanguinum," this Spouse of 
Blood, who comes thus to woo our souls, and espouse them to 


Himself in a contract of unalterable affection 1 Yes, it is 
indeed tliat very crown whereof it is said in the Canticles, 
" Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see BLing Solomon in the 
diadein wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his 
espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart " (iii. 11). Oh, 
who will resist such a claim to his affections as this, such a 
winning plea to his heart ? And if His mother Jerusalem 
showed her cruelty and unfeelingness to this first and best 
of her children, let us whom He thus willed to espouse to 
Himself, compensate her wickedness by the ardour of our 

2. Reflect how we, who are the disciples of Jesus, are the 
followers of a King bearing a thorny crown ; while they are the 
enemies alike of His cross and of His law, who say, with the 
libertines of old, " Coronemus nos rosis " (Wisd. ii. 8). Such 
are the costumes or liveries of the two contending sides ; and 
by them we may as clearly distinguish one from the other, as 
by their shields and helmets men of old could distinguish a 
Greek from a barbarian army. When the tempter appeared to 
S. Martin, wearing a gorgeous diadem, and professed to be 
Jesus Christ, the Saint detected the cheat, and put the deceiver 
to flight, by the simple remark that Jesus had His Head 
crowned with thorns, not with a golden crown. So identified, 
in the mind of the Saints, was this badge with His blessed 
appearance. If, then, we follow Him, it will not be when we 
would add earthly honours to our heads, and crown ourselves 
with mere human greatness, that we shall be acknowledged as 
one of His suite ; but when with our heads bowed down, and 
humbled before Him, acknowledging -our sins, we have spread 
upon them the ashes of a sincere repentance. When, girt with 
ignominy or sorrow, we rejoice to be like Him, abased and 
despised, then indeed we walk after Him as He wishes to 
see us, and we are confessed before His Father as among His 
true disciples. When Heraclius was carrying the blessed 
Cross, recovered from the infidel, into the Holy City, he found 
himself unable to proceed, till, reminded by the patriarch that 
his Saviour, under the same load, was not clad in an imperial 
robe, nor crowned with gold, but with thorns, he threw off his 
splendid apparel, and so was able to go forward. And can we 


hope to pass the gate of the true and heavenly Jerusalem in 
the character the only one in which we can hope to be saved 
of bearers of the Cross, and followers of Jesus, without a like 
renunciation, and a like imitation 1 After such an example, 
what can be difficult or bitter 1 Who, if Jesus appeared to him, 
and offered him on one side a splendid diadem, and on the other 
a crown like His own, would hesitate a moment between the 
two 1 Who would not eagerly stretch out his hand to seize 
this one, and place it on his head I Who would not willingly 
resemble Jesus, his Lord, rather than the most magnificent 
monarch of earth ? 

3. Affections. " Jesus, King and Lord of my heart and soul, 
what crown shall I give Thee to acknowledge Thee as such ? 
Alas ! gold and silver in my poverty I have none ; my gold hath 
been long since turned into dross, and my silver been alloyed. 
I have no roses, like Thy martyrs, who returned Thee blood for 
Blood ; nor lilies, like Thy virgins, who loved Thee with an un 
sullied heart. My soul is barren, my heart is unfruitful, and 
I have placed Thee to reign, as the Jewish kings of old, over 
a heap of ruins. Long since despoiled and ravaged by the 
enemy, every flower hath been ploughed up, and every green 
plant burnt with fire, and thorns alone and brambles spring up 
there. Of these, then, alone can I make Thee a crown, my 
dear and sovereign Jesus. Wilt Thou accept it ? I will pluck 
up my unruly affections, that they may 110 more have roots, and 
weaving them together into a wreath will lay them as a sacri 
fice at Thy Feet. I will gather the thorns of sincere repentance 
which there each day arise, and prick my heart with a sharp 
but wholesome smart ; and with these will I make a crown for 
Thy head, if Thou vouchsafe to wear it. Or rather, Thou shalt 
take it from my hand, only to place it with Thine around my 
heart, that it may be daily and hourly pricked to compunction. 
And may the thorns of Thy crown be to my soul so many 
goads of love to hasten it forward in its career towards Thee." 


jFotirtfj fHontlj, &f|tr& OTwfe. Saturtog. 

Edification to Others living with us here. 

1 . Reflect how it has pleased Divine Providence to place us 
all here together, for the accomplishment of His blessed pur 
poses towards us, and for a common work of preparation for 
great and important duties. "We have therefore but one 
common interest, but one object in view, the advancement of 
God s designs, and our qualification for our future or present 
calling. Every duty and occupation prescribed for us our 
prayers, our studies, even our recreations are the means 
whereby these objects are to be attained. The exact and 
regular observance of all these by every member of the house 
will ensure their attainment ; and this forms the first charac 
teristic of an edifying community. But every violation, though 
in itself slight, disturbs the orderly working of these means, and 
thwarts the good they are calculated to produce. For as in a 
ship, it is necessary that all the machinery and cordage which 
regulate its course should be kept in order, and all set for impel 
ling it in one particular direction, and if but one of the crew 
were so malicious or foolish as constantly to let loose some rope, 
however small, which was ordered to be kept fast, or to pull 
out some rivet which held the portions of the rudder or yards 
together, he would thereby impede the vessel s course, and 
might endanger his own and all his companions safety ; even 
so here, where we are all embarked together, any one who dis- 
edifies the rest by irregularity and neglect of duty, in appa 
rently unimportant matters, hinders greatly the designs of God, 
by deranging and disturbing the means of their accomplishment. 
And such inattention to or such positive disturbance of what 
is necessary for the good progress of the common work we have 
on hand, is necessarily a source of disedification to all. For to 
edify is to build up, to give solidity and perfection to all the 
parts of our spiritual building; whereas such conduct tends 
rather to destroy and pull down the edifice, which we not so 


much build up as ourselves compose. Such is the first species 
of edification that we should give, the exact observance of every 
duty, so as to form collectively an edifying community. For it 
can hardly be matter of meditation for us to consider the 
reasons there are for our carefully avoiding all disedification of 
a more serious character, by mutual scandal, through the 
transgression of God s law. Such conduct as this would, to 
follow the comparison made just now, be as mad and afc wicked 
as the man s who should do his best to cut an opening in the 
vessel s side, so to sink himself and his companions together. 
Rather reflect how much it is our duty to edify one another by 
the practice of those virtues and those good offices which we 
have it now in our power to discharge one towards the other, 
by mutual kindness, charity, gentleness, and forgiveness ; bear 
ing with one another s failings or occasional trespasses, minis 
tering to one another in sickness and affliction, being ready to 
sacrifice our own wills or plans for others gratification, con 
sulting ever the general interest, assisting with what abilities 
we may possess the deficiencies of our companions ; in a word, 
being a mutual support and comfort, so that it may be said of 
us, " Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum habitare fratres in 
unum" Let us thus, as the apostle admonishes us, ever 
"consider one another to provoke unto charity and to good 
works . . comforting one another " (Heb. x. 24, 25). 

2. Reflect now upon the still higher matters wherein we are 
called to give mutual edification during our union here. First, 
in zeal for the great cause to which our souls have been bound 
together. For zeal, the offspring of charity, will easily cool if 
not constantly fanned by exercise. But still better will it be 
kept glowing and warm in contact with that of others ; even 
as a single coal will expire, which placed with others in a 
brazier will long continue to burn. By the frequent and open 
communication of our thoughts with one another upon such 
subjects as concern our future ministry, we shall mutually 
keep alive this holy fire, prepare for the frank expression of 
our feelings when duty shall call for it, and establish a brother 
hood of mutual affection, bound by the most consoling links of 
confidence and good understanding, which will one day be the 
basis of much useful co-operation. If. 011 the contrary, each 


one stands here alone with his own thoughts, with no means of 
ascertaining whether others feel as he does, he becomes timid 
and irresolute, loses by degrees, from want of encouragement, 
the spirit which he possesses, and departs in time from his 
generous determination. Such should be the mutual edifica 
tion of our speech, in the interchange of our religious feelings, 
warning and exciting each other s zeal by the expression of our 
own. But still higher than this duty is that of edifying one 
another by the fervent discharge of every good work. This is 
the true rivalry, the only emulation which we ought to admit 
amongst us, to see who can run fastest and farthest on the path 
of virtue. Let us show one another, by our diligence and re 
collection, how we value meditation upon the law of God and 
the great truths of religion j let us give evidence, in the pre 
sence of all, of our deep reverence for the adorable sacrifice of 
the Mass, not only by being always present, but by our fervent 
devotion while daily assisting at it. Let us manifest our love 
of prayer by our modest and devout comportment on all occa 
sions of it. Let us, in a word, be a mutual incentive to every 
act of piety and virtue in the service of our common Lord. Let 
us also be a comfort to one another in our respect for every 
practice of the Church, fearlessly exhibit our reverence to the 
relics and images of the Saints, and omit no work of devotion 
which the simple piety of a Catholic land approves. Let us 
edify one another in our earnest, confident, and tender devo 
tion to Mary, openly speaking her praises, and expressing our 
love towards her. Let us so strengthen one another in these feel 
ings, as that one day we may not be afraid or ashamed to mani 
fest them before men, and may then feel that we are all but 
as one in a phalanx armed alike, and closely formed together 
boldly to fight a common battle. 

3. Affections. " God of strength, without Whom nought 
is powerful, nought is holy, look down upon this my desire of 
serving Thee among these my friends and fellow-servants, so 
as to have no individual view or interest, but to throw all the 
little I possess into the common stock. " Harsupium unum 
sit omnibus nobis" says the seducer in the Proverbs (i. 14) ; so, 
in the good sense, let us all say to each other. Let us cast all our 
good things, our little talents, our poor learning or virtue, our 


weak efforts, but our strong desires and mighty ends, into one 
store, making it the greater by such accumulation. And Thou, 
O God ! by Thy blessing, wilt multiply, and give it weight, and 
make it fruitful. Joined hand in hand, we will pray before 
Thine altar ; linked heart to heart, we will offer ourselves to 
Thy service ; standing side by side, we will fight Thy battles ; 
and with one tongue we will proclaim Thy glories. And from 
these our united desires, and combined affections, there shall 
arise but one flame of charity and zeal before Thee, and in the 
sight of Thy holy angels." 

Jtmrtfj fftontfj, Jmtvtfj 8KJu 3tmteg. 
MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On a good use of the Sacraments. 

1. Reflect how unreasonable it would be for a man, grie 
vously sick, to send for a physician, and express his eager 
desire to be restored to health, and kept in it, and yet obsti 
nately to resist every measure proposed, and refuse to take 
such remedies as the physician had been at the pains to prepare 
for him with his own hands. Or imagine one who was anxious- 
to become rich, instructed by a powerful lord what to do that 
he might acquire immense wealth ; or told by a person of 
known probity where a large treasure lay, which would of right 
be his on his simply taking it. What would you say of him, 
how far would you believe his desire sincere, if he declined 
either offer 1 Precisely such, or worse, is our conduct as 
regards our sanctification, if we neglect to use frequently and 
well the sacraments which Jesus Christ has left us for that 
end. He came down from heaven as our Divine physician ; He 
knows all our weaknesses, sores, and ailments; He has 
studied our case most minutely, and through His own painful 
experience ; He has made up for us sovereign remedies, in 
which His own Blood is the principal ingredient. These 
remedies He offers to us in the sacrament of Penance. Can 
we indeed be said to dislike and lament our state of illness, 
or to desire seriously our recovery, so long as we neglect to 
apply to that means of cure 1 Further, our Lord has laid up in 


the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood a rich and 
inexhaustible store of blessings and graces, pledges and instru 
ments of eternal life. Can we be said to desire earnestly the 
sanctification they are designed to bestow, if we are slothful, 
negligent, or cold in the use of that adorable institution to 
which they are attached 1 Such, then, are the sacraments left 
by our Lord for the sanctification of His followers ; and they 
are precisely such as are best adapted for the purpose. For, 
first, the great impediment to our sanctification is our constant 
frailty, which by daily and hourly falls prevents the grace of 
God from fully possessing our souls, and reigning therein sove 
reign and supreme. What could we hope for, unless God, in 
His mercy, had prepared for us a saving remedy, accessible to 
us as often as we need it ; wherein our offences are forgiven, 
and their consequences repaired in our souls 1 But besides this 
repeated diminution of strength by accidents, there is a con 
stant evaporation and wearing out of our vigour, by our contact 
with the world, by the action of our passions and earthly 
desires, and by the very inertness of our mortal natures, which 
cannot long together keep steadily to what is good. In our 
physical constitution we discover a parallel to this ; we know 
how, though our strength or health may not be impaired by a 
fall or by sickness, yet without a daily store of fresh nourish 
ment we must pine away and soon die. So is it, no less, with 
our moral constitution. Accordingly, God has provided for 
it in like manner. He hath given us a strengthening bread, a 
succulent nourishment, which confirms and consolidates the 
spiritual man, and pours new vigour into his soul, and restores 
all its wasted energy. How then can we hope spiritually to live 
that is, to be in a state of grace or sanctification if we have 
not frequent recourse to this banquet, ever spread for us, in 
which grace and holiness ever dwell 1 

2. Reflect how if the neglect of these means must preclude 
all our advance in holiness, their diligent and devout use must 
assist the same. How rapidly will that soul walk towards 
perfection, which, keeping ever a diligent watch and ward over 
itself, corrects, by repentance, the very first appearance of evil, 
crushes in its bud the first germs of vice, and washes out each 
venial stain the moment it is discovered by the conscience ! It 


waits not, to clear its way heavenwards, till a rock or bank long 
worn by unheeded filterings have fallen down and blocked its 
path. Each pebble is picked off and flung far away, so far that 
it may never roll back ; and thus a smooth, easy, and pleasant 
way is ever kept before it. How ready must God s right Hand 
be to lavish new blessings, where such pains are unceasingly 
taken to have a place prepared for them ! How willingly 
will it cast the seed of good counsels, chaste desires, and 
virtuous thoughts, where the soil is ever kept so tilled and 
prepared to receive it ! How gladly will He come in and make 
His habitation in that heart which is ever kept as a house well 
cleansed from the smallest object that can be displeasing to His 
eyes, swept and garnished for His use ! But oh, how that 
soul will advance with giant strides towards holiness and 
heaven, which, not content with being free from sin, keeps 
frequent consort with her God and Saviour by the participation 
of His ineffable mysteries ! the soul that sits often at His 
table, and eats of His bread, and drinks of His inebriating 
^chalice, with a foretaste of what one day it will drink with 
Him in His Father s kingdom. How must that heart be 
inflamed with love, the substance and very essence of sanctifi- 
cation, which frequently comes in contact with the burning 
Heart of its Saviour in this wonderful institution of His love ! 
How must grace fill to overflowing that soul, into which is 
repeatedly poured this treasure of all grace nay, its very Source 
and Author ! Surely it would not be long before we were all 
Saints, did we appreciate the value of these means within our 
reach, and employ them accordingly. We, in particular, who 
enjoy such peculiar facilities for the frequenting of the sacra 
ments, should avail ourselves of them to the utmost of our 
power, and with all possible fruit. 

3. Resolutions. "If hitherto, O my God, I have not understood 
the value of Thy precious gifts to us, in aid of the great work 
of our sanctification, let me from henceforth prize and use them 
as they deserve. Let no indolence or coldness on my part, no 
apprehension of difficulty, keep me away from these fountains 
of life. Let sin, however slight, never burthen my conscience 
for a moment ; but let me run, as soon as possible, to the laver 
where it is cleansed, and the tribunal where it is forgiven. Let 


my soul never languish and faint for want of its proper 
nourishment, but daily frequent the table spread against all 
mine enemies, wherein I shall recruit my strength, and renew 
my youth for greater exertions. Never let me be so ungrateful 
to Thy bountv as to slight these provisions for my frailty ; but 
let me find, in the frequent and devout use of Thy sacraments, 
comfort and joy, and withal holiness and devotion, virtue and 
piety. Thus, whenever Thou callest me away, however sud 
denly, Thou shalt find me bearing the seal of forgiveness 
recently impressed on my soul, and the pledge of salvation, the 
Blood on the doorposts, freshly sprinkled." 

jFourtfj iHontfj, Jfrmrtfj S2Eceft. fHontiag. 
LAST THINGS. HEAVEN. The Company of the Saints. 

1. Eeflect how, charity being the great virtue of heaven, 
the one which the apostle tells us will be there perfected as in^ 
its true home, it must exist unreservedly among the various 
inhabitants of that happy place. There shall angels and men 
be brought into perfect harmony, as though belonging to one 
sole order of beings. There will be indeed great inequality in 
dignity and in bliss \ but not on that account will there be 
envy ings, repinings, or jealousies. Each one will be satisfied 
with the fulness of his own joy, being as great as he lias- 
capacity to contain. Consider, now, what a happiness it will 
be to be received into the company of those glorious spirits, 
not as one is introduced into a society of men here below, when 
some look at you with inquiring eyes, and whispering, ask one 
another who you are, and others hardly deign to notice you, or 
even turn their backs upon you. But here every countenance 
will smile upon you, the arms of all will be stretched Avide to- 
embrace you, words of welcome will be upon every lip, and in 
one instant you find yourself in the midst of a family, as a happy 
member of it, recognized by all : one of an innumerable collection 
of friends, every one of whom will be faithful to you for ever, 
without danger of failing you, or of deceiving you, or of becom 
ing cool towards you. Oh, blissful state of endless, undecaying 


love ! how I long and pine for thee amidst the daily disappoint 
ments of human attachments, amidst the bickerings, differences, 
and contentions of this lower world ! But reflect how reason 
able this love of God s Saints in heaven will be on our part. 
For in them we shall see reflected, in the most amiable light, 
the splendour of God s attributes, and thus deserving of a 
portion of that love which they excite in the soul that con 
templates them. 

And, as virtue is to the virtuous an object of affection, so 
will that of the blessed be such to the blessed ; and that love 
will be proportioned to the excellence of that virtue which they 
behold in one another. It will be a virtue without a shade of 
imperfection, without the slightest flaw from human frailty, 
undimnied by the smallest taint from failings in other points. 
Hence the love which will mutually be felt will be undiminished 
by the consciousness of any demerit on the part of those who 
are beloved. But there will be many positive engagements to love 
in the Saints themselves. Who can fail to imagine how the 
great characteristics of every order of holiness here on earth will 
produce corresponding qualities of beauty and amiability in 
heaven, which will excite in us a distinct species of affection ? 
There shall be something more of reverence mingled in our 
love for the apostles who propagated the faith of Christ ; more 
of respect in that which we shall feel for the martyrs ; more of 
tenderness in our feelings towards those who have fought the 
same fight as ourselves, and have been victorious. But we 
are meditating upon this heavenly charity as though we were 
only to be the lovers, and not the loved : we have been con 
templating this banquet of affection as though we were to be 
only spectators, and not guests. 

How, then, must the happiness of this joy of heaven be 
enhanced by our finding ourselves as much beloved by these 
great and glorious Saints, these friends of God, as they will be 
by us ! Think of the consolation of being called friends by 
John himself, the chosen friend of the Bridegroom ; to be em 
braced as a brother by Peter and Paul, as though we had shared 
their dungeons and chains ; and, more than all, to be admitted 
to the most filial and kind familiarity with Mary the Mother 
of our dear Lord ! 



There will be no distinction of ranks, no divisions of classes 
of society ; but all who have passed the threshold will be on a 
footing of equality in affection and charity. Is it possible, my 
God, that I shall one day be so highly honoured by those whom 
Thou hast so exalted 1 Shall Thy glorious Saints, shall Thy 
blessed Angels, condescend to recognize and treat a poor wretch 
like me as a dear and long-tried friend, as one worthy of their 
intimacy, familiarity, and love 1 But oh, what a happy place 
that will be for me, if, assisted by Thy grace, I can reach it ! 
What a bliss to be so treated by such excellent beings ! Shall 
I not strive with my whole heart to render myself worthy 
of it ? 

2. Eeflect how the countless multitude of the Angels and 
Saints will be no impediment to this intercourse of charity. 
When we are introduced to a great banquet on earth, our con 
versation is necessarily limited to the few individuals more im 
mediately about us ; we see the others only from a distance. But 
between spirits and spiritualized bodies, distance and nmltitude 
will be no hindrance to uninterrupted communion. They require 
not to be near one another to converse together ; they have no 
need of individual friendships, or secret and reserved communi 
cations. We may form some idea of their intercourse by 
imagining them to ourselves as so many mirrors placed round 
the sun, which is God. Each of them reflects in itself the rays 
of all the others, and sends to them all its own images ; and 
yet both the reflected and the reflector have only one object, 
that Sun which gives them all light and heat, which multi 
plies itself as many fold as there are mirrors, and represents 
itself in each as many times as there are others that receive its 
figure. For what have the blessed to say and express but what 
is in God, who is all knowledge and wisdom, and who, shining 
upon every one of His elect, makes in him the representation 
of Himself, in which he sees all that the others see, know, and 
feel, and by which he at once sends to and receives from them 
all faithful transcripts and representations of their common 
happiness ] Thus is the happiness of each multiplied by this 
communication of love to as many fold as there are blessed 
creatures enjoying it around. Tranquilly and without intermis 
sion is this intercourse carried on, from eternity to eternity ; it 


is not by efforts, nor even by acts, that it is exercised, but by 
emanation (so to speak) \ by a flow of charity which, issuing 
from as many centres as there are hearts, diffuses itself equally 
on every side, like rings upon the water, which cross one 
another without interruption till they have reached the lake s 
uttermost margin. The consequence of this wonderful and 
heavenly expansion of universal charity will be the perfect 
accordance of will among all the inhabitants of that happy 
region. The enjoyment of God, praising and blessing Him, 
will be their one all-absorbing object ; and this happy purpose 
and end of their eternal existence will thus be at once nourished 
and equalised through the entire multitude. Hence, the strains 
of celestial joy which are described in Scripture as their occu 
pation will be in the most perfect accord ; not one will be 
silent, not one languid, not one deficient in the smallest note ; 
but it will be as though those millions of blessed ones had but 
one tongue, so matchless will be the unity of the song. Hence, 
too, the acquaintance and close friendship which we shall make 
with those blessed souls will not be a work of time, or a feeling 
of gradual growth, but complete from the first instant. The 
first moment of admission into their company will give the key 
to the thoughts and affections of all, and place each and all in 
the completest equality of communion. What a paradise of 
delights must Heaven be, where such an unimaginable partici 
pation of happiness is constantly carried on, where each one 
has nothing that is not the property of all, and where millions 
of souls contribute the sum of inconceivable bliss to form the 
portion of each ! 

3. Affections. " O blessed Jerusalem, true vision of peace, 
and true habitation of love ! when shall I rest within thy 
pleasant walls, and be thy eternal citizen % When shall I fly 
from this parched desert, from this waste and howling wilder 
ness, where strife and ill-will, uncharitableness and hatred, 
disturb and destroy our peace ? When shall I be able to join 
my voice with that multitude whose voice is as the voice of 
many waters, and as the sound of the great sea in its might, 
whenever it is raised in song of jubilee, thanksgiving, and 
praise 1 I long to be a drop in that ocean of bliss, lost in the 
immensity of its happiness. I earnestly desire to be separated 


from the tents of sinners, and have my lot in the tabernacles of 
the just. Oh, how pleasant will it be to have so many brethren 
with whom to live in unity for ever and ever ; fresh as the dew 
on Mount Hermon, fragrant as the precious ointment that 
flowed from the head of God s anointed ! How delightful to 
hear no more those cold words, as St. Chrysostom calls them, 
mine and thine ; but to enjoy a full, unlimited possession of the 
accumulated treasures of happiness which millions of saints 
have gathered up ! But Thou, blessed Lord, master of this 
agape at which we all hope one day to recline, do Thou secure 
our possession of it in Thine own good time ! Purify our souls 
now from all rancour, malice, anger, and envy ; make us begin 
here below the life of charity and love which we may continue 
for eternity. Give us a foretaste of heaven upon earth, and 
bring us happily in the end to the full possession of its unfail 
ing joys ! " 

Jmtrtfj JHontfj, Jmtrtfj 2Hcrfu Eurstfag. 

PERSONAL YIRTUES. On Temperance and Fasting. 

1. Reflect how the duty of mortification, whereon we medi 
tated this day month, will exercise itself in a twofold manner 
on the indulgence of our appetites ; particularly on the inordi 
nate gratification of our desire for "the meat that perisheth." 
First, it will keep a constant restraint upon it, so as to prevent 
all excess ; making the cravings of nature the measure of our 
indulgence, and never allowing mere pleasure to guide or rule us. 
Indeed, we may on this head learn a lesson from the very 
animals, which, when hunger has been satisfied, depart from 
their food, nor will be tempted by dainties to commit excess. 
And among men, what a degraded being is he justly considered, 
who wallows in the gross pleasures of meat and drink ; and 
impairs his health, nay, obscures his reason, by inordinate 
indulgence. Such a one is a curse to his family, and a burden 
to himself, the shame of his house, and the scorn of the public. 
But on the other hand, the temperate man is an object of 


respect. For lie will seldom be under the control of violent 
passions ; his reason will always be clear, and men will 
place confidence in his judgment, when opposed to that of 
others. This is a virtue honoured even by heathens, as the 
necessary condition for a life of union with God, through 
prayer and contemplation. It is impossible for the mind, 
when clogged by the body, itself rendered burdensome by 
weight of food, to rise on the wings of desire and charity 
towards that heavenly kingdom " which is not meat." Nor 
will the affections of the soul be easily kept free from un 
chaste desires, unless the body be restrained within due bounds 
in the indulgence of the pleasures of the table. But one who 
at meals is ever temperate, and out of them denies himself 
whatever nature does not require, has his other affections 
under control, and will have a power of command over his 
thoughts, which one that indulges in either point will never 
attain. We see in the three children and Daniel, how God 
rewarded abstinence from forbidden dainties, by making them 
thrive more, and become fairer and healthier under their 
simple diet than those who unscrupulously used the royal 

2. Reflect, that if temperance be a habit from which the 
Christian may never depart, it must be nourished by acts of 
more decided self-denial and restraint. For, as the feeling or 
habit of charity must be kept alive through the frequent per 
formance of acts such as almsgiving, or assisting the distressed, 
whether in mind or body, so will temperance be in danger, and 
we shall easily, by gradual relaxations, fall into indulgence, if 
from time to time we practise not definite acts of privation, 
through the salutary observance of fasting. Hence has this 
duty been ever recommended by the example of all who have 
served God under either law. Moses and Elias, each with his 
fast of forty days, David, the prophets, the Baptist, the Apostles, 
and, above all others, Jesus Christ Himself. Such a recom 
mendation should alone suffice to sweeten all the hardship, and 
smoothe the difficulties, of this practice. Flesh and blood indeed 
rebel against it ; nature will ever be ready with a thousand 
artful pleas for the neglect or relaxation of it. This should be 
a reason the more for our diligence and fervour in it ; for what- 


ever the flesh abhors the spirit may believe to be profitable. 
Fasting humbles the pride of the heart, and teaches the mortal 
body to know its proper place, that of servant and minister 
to the spirit s wants. Fasting withdraws the fuel of vice from 
this furnace of passion that ever burns within our bosoms ; the 
principle of concupiscence is depressed, and the ascendancy of 
the moral as well as the intellectual man is established and con 
firmed. Prayer has double power when seasoned by fasting ; 
and blessings which are denied to the highest and noblest efforts 
of prayer unaided by it, are granted to supplications which 
fasting recommends. There were evil spirits which even the 
commands of the Apostles could not cast out, without prayer 
and fasting (Mark ix. 28). Hence Esther did not hope for the 
salvation of her people from the exterminating decree of Aman, 
without a general fast to be holden of all the people. Hence 
Daniel did not expect to have Nabuchodonosor s dream mani 
fested to him, unless he and his three companions joined in a 
three days fast. Hence the Ninivites, threatened with destruc 
tion, bethought them of no better expedient to avert the curse, 
though uttered by a prophet of the Lord of Hosts, than to 
proclaim a fast of men and beasts. While God then has at 
tached such important results to this holy practice, how comes 
it that we are so loth to perform it, so remiss in its discharge ? 
What matters a little repugnance to be overcome, a little pain 
to be endured, when its fruits are so blessed 1 With what 
enthusiasm of praise is this practice treated of in the writings 
of the great lights of the early Church, as S. Basil, S. Gregory, 
S. Jerome ! How did men, whose lives had been most innocent, 
compared with ours, add to the greater rigours which the eccle- 
tiastical law then enjoined, and visit on their bodies with 
severity the smaller offences of which they stood chargeable ! 
And I, a vile transgressor of God s commandments, corrupted 
and defiled with innumerable sins, think only how I may 
pamper this miserable body which has been the cause of so 
many of my offences, instead of chastising it, as I ought, and 
bringing it into subjection ! 

3. Resolutions. " From henceforth, at any rate, O my God ! 
I Avill know how to treat it as it deserves. On those days 
which Thy holy Church has appointed, I will be most careful 


and diligent in observing its fasts, not merely according to the 
letter of the injunction, but in its spirit. I will bear in mind 
that I am on those days called to make a reckoning with Thy 
justice, and to disarm it by taking its claims into mine own 
hands, and making them good upon this body which hath re 
belled so often against Thy holy law. Thus I shall take care 
neither to evade the precept, nor to palliate my infractions of 
it. Moreover, I will endeavour daily to find some means of 
mortifying this flesh in regard to its craving appetite : at any 
rate, I will keep a bit and curb upon it at all times, by tem 
perate and frugal diet, and by moderate use of the same. I 
will know and feel that I am nourishing an enemy, whom I 
must take care not to make too strong for me, lest in the end 
he master me, and prove my ruin." 

JFourtfj fffontfj, jFourtf) &2ecfc. 



1. Reflect upon the lively image which this most pathetic 
parable presents to us of our state and conduct, when first we 
abandoned God by sin. There was a time when I dwelt in 
His house, His child, loving and loved, confiding iraplictly in 
His kindness, wishing for no riches or happiness beyond what 
He held for me. Having so fully experienced His bounty in 
the past, I knew there was nothing in future too great for me 
to expect ; and I looked forward to dwelling for ever with 
Him, in His and my house. At length there came an ac 
cursed hour, when restlessness and trouble came over my 
spirit. I saw how others, who dwelt without, sought and 
seemed to find joys incompatible with the restraints of my 
dear Father s house ; perhaps I heard their words calling me 
forth to join their company, and to partake of what they called 
their pleasures. Within myself was an unquiet yearning after 
other enjoyments than I had hitherto loved ; and I saw that I 
must choose between Him and His enemy, between the peace 
of His home and the evil of my passions. Long did my good 


and gracious God oppose my design, and the voice of His 
minister and the counsels of friends warned me of the miseries 
I was going so heedlessly to incur. They entreated me to- 
remain where I was, in His company and in His home. Fool 
that I was ! I turned a deaf ear to all admonitions and all 
remonstrances; I listened to the words of deceit which the 
tempter poured into my flattered ears, and I asked my sorrow 
ing and even indignant Father for that portion of substance 
which I claimed as mine. My body I claimed from Him, to be 
the instrument of my sensible enjoyment ; my worldly goods I 
took to myself, as a means to procure me gratification. My 
mind I appropriated to my own desires and devices, leaving 
Him no portion fit for Him or His service. My whole being 
I demanded for my own use, and for the attaining of ends quite 
different from those to which He had destined me in creating 
me. "With all these things I left His house, and turned my 
back upon Him with a cold indifference. I wandered far away, 
till I could no longer see Him, or aught that could remind me 
of Him. And for a time, pleasure and thoughtless dissipation 
made me forget Him. But how soon did the famine come into 
that country, when all those first resources were exhausted, and 
body, mind, and desires were wearied with their worthless 
gratification ! Oh, the herd of unclean spirits that I fed for 
the tyrant obeyed in that accursed country ! Oh, the hateful 
retribution which he gave me ! Oh, the husks which I was 
made to swallow in hopes of allaying, the tormenting appetites 
which held me in thraldom ! How degraded did I feel in my 
own eyes ! How fearful of looking up into the face of heaven, 
where my dear Father dwelt ! How gnawed was my heart 
with remorse, how embittered my thoughts with regrets, how 
heavy my up-rising, and how full of conscious fear my lying 
down ! Oh, poor prodigal that I have been ; ungrateful, un- 
dutiful son : and how severely punished by my own heart for 
my recklessness and villany ! 

2. Reflect, how it has since fared with thee ; and whether 
thy heart hath already been touched, and thou art again recon 
ciled to thy God and Father ; or, if thy work remain still to be 
accomplished, consider it as present to thee, and apply the 
parable to thyself. Yes, when in this miserable state, how 


often has the gentle whisper of this my good parent, such as it 
sounded to me in the days of my innocence, come upon my ear 
in some hour of solitary musing, seeming to say : "Arise, my 
poor child ; return to Me, and I will lovingly receive tliee." At 
first I started when I heard these accents ; for I knew my Father 
was indeed afar off: and how could He speak to me so that I 
should hear Him] Then I said in my anguish, "No, no; it 
cannot be. He never will forgive me. And I am too weak 
to travel so far, and I am now fit only to feed those swine, and 
can never ask to be received again within His house. No ; I 
must remain as I am, lost for ever/ But the voice returned. 
Oh, whence came it ? Was it within me or without 1 Was 
it at my ear or at my heart 1, I know not ; but still it pur 
sued me with mild importunity, whithersoever/ I fled. Some 
times it seemed to chide me for my ingratitude, sometimes it 
moved me with kind invitation ; by turns it was severe and 
gentle, reproachful or cheering ; but always sweet and loving. 
It was my Father s voice that addressed me. And shall I ever 
cease to bless that hour when, overcome by its kind importu 
nities, sickened at the sight of my own wretchedness, weary of 
so miserable a condition, I arose from my knees, after having 
poured forth my heart in tears before Him I had so long 
offended and contemned, with that happy resolution on my 
lips ; " I will return to my Father s house." I bethought 
me of those blissful days when I sat at His table, one among 
His children, cheerful and innocent, and longed that I could 
bring them back. But no ; I was not worthy of such happi 
ness again. I can ask for no higher office than that of a 
menial servant in His house. Yes, I will toil and labour to 
serve Him ; I will be the servant of His children, and will 
dedicate my life, abilities, and whole self to securing as many of 
my brethren as I can from following my miserable example. 
This shall be all I will ask from Him, whenever I see His face. 
This is all I will presume upon, and even this is much more 
than ever I have deserved. But what do I see? My dear 
Father running forward on the road to meet me, before I 
even reach His house ! He has seen me from afar, and has 
hastened the first to me ; He will not allow me to finish my 
self-accusation, but clasps me in His arms and kisses away my 


self-accusing tears. Already He has ordered His servants to 
bring out His ring and best robes, to cover and adorn me. 
Already He has ordered the fatted calf to be killed, and His 
friends to rejoice over His Son that was dead, and is alive 
again, was lost, and is found. 

3. Affections. " And is it from such a Father that I have 
run away ? Is it on such a dear friend, on such a forgiving 
parent, that I have ever turned my back 1 Oh, how little did I 
know Thee, my blessed God ! How little do we or can we 
know Thee, till Thou hast forgiven us ! It is the embrace of 
reconciliation which truly makes us feel ourselves Thy children ; 
and that no vileness, no undutifulness on our part has yet 
cancelled this character, or rent the bond which it establishes 
between Thy Heart and us. Prodigal as I have been, my heart 
has refused to follow the wanderings of my feet ; and has ever, 
from time to time, stolen away, to take a sorrowful glance at 
the beauties and the delights of Thy house. And now that 
like the sparrow it has found it again, and like the turtle-dove 
hath found its nest in Thy bosom, never shall it wander thence 
again. Shelter it there from all seduction, from all temptation. 
Let not my elder brethren, they who have been ever faithful to 
Thee, spurn or scorn me, unfit as I am to dwell in the same 
house with them. But let my shame be hid in Thy breast, 
which will not betray it ; and let me from henceforth love and 
serve Thee as one forgiven ever should, as Peter did, who had 
fallen, " more than these." 

jFourtfj fHontfj, Jmtrtfj &2Eecfc. 

1. Reflect how odious and degrading is the sin, and still 
more the passion, of anger. It has justly been termed by a 
heathen philosopher a brief madness, for it produces all the 
consequences of real insanity. While under its influence, a man 
is not in possession of his reason ; he cannot act according to 
its dictates ; he has for the time put off humanity, and sunk 
himself to the condition of the brute. His tongue will utter 


the most incoherent and most foolish ravings ; his countenance 
changes into a horrible expression, his colour comes and goes, 
his blood is unnaturally inflamed, and his heart throbs with 
feverish rapidity. His best friend stands in awe of him, his 
children and dearest ones are afraid to address him ; his natural 
affections are extinct, or lost for the time in the dark storm 
that tears his soul, and he is in truth no man, but the organ of 
the infernal spirit that has possessed him. This is no exag 
gerated picture of what this passion will drive men to, if in 
dulged to its full extent. It is good for us to dwell on the 
contemplation of this odious picture ; and, as the Spartans of 
old used to present their slaves in a state of intoxication to 
the sight of their children, that they might be deterred from 
excess which naturally terminated in such a degrading state, 
so let us, by contemplating the brutal condition to which a 
paroxysm of angry passion reduces its victim, strengthen our 
horror of that vice which can lead us to it. A man who is 
given to anger, even in much lesser degrees, can never be an 
object of general affection. However his weakness may be 
borne by those whom duty, interest, or custom have brought 
into contact with him, he will be by most people considered an 
object of just aversion. He will have few sincere friends j and 
while the meek, the forgiving, and the gentle-minded will be at 
peace with all men, and loved and esteemed by all, he will 
wonder how his abilities and other superior advantages do so 
little towards conciliating the same feelings towards himself. 
He will have opportunities, too, of discovering that his heat 
and passion, so far from giving him any advantage over others, 
rather enlist all against him, disturb the powers of his own intel 
lect, and make him appear to disadvantage. The New Law, 
however, of Jesus, did not limit itself to the terms of the old, but 
extended its provisions to internal sins. Not only he that 
kills is guilty of the judgment ; he who indulges in causeless 
anger with his brother incurs the same severe penalty. Let us 
not, therefore, flatter ourselves that so long as we do not, by 
word or work, inflict an injury on our neighbours, we escape 
the vengeance of the law ; but fear that so long as we nourish 
rancour in our hearts against any one, or wish for revenge, or 
refuse to forgive an injury, we are truly guilty of a grievous 


sin, not against man, but against God, Who will resent and 
punish it with the utmost rigour. 

2. Reflect how unbecoming in us is this vice or sin of anger. 
For first, we are placed here all together by God s providence, 
to live in peace and harmony with one another, not to tear one 
another in pieces ; to love, not to hate one another. How foolish 
(if that were even all), obliged as we are to live in com 
pany, to indulge in fits of sulleimess and anger, which can only 
embitter life to us all ! If the crew of a small vessel were ever 
at war among themselves, what would become of their craft, or 
who would bear to live in such society 1 And so, we who are 
sailing forward in the same vessel towards the same eternity, 
how mad are we to make this voyage, sufficiently fraught 
already with dangers and miseries, yet more perilous and more 
painful, by indignant feelings and petty displeasures, which 
prevent the mutual co-operation and assistance which are so 
needful. But what is this consideration compared with what 
follows 1 For, further, who are we that presume to raise our 
heads with indignation against others 1 We are offended for 
sooth at something they have said, or done, or omitted ! An 
acquaintance has presumed to find some fault with our conduct 
or character \ and we angrily resent it, and show in our looks 
and gestures how sensible we are of it. Our servant forgets 
some small point of the duty we exact, or does some trifling 
thing contrary to our pleasure ; and we break out into harsh 
and unkind language, and rebuke him severely. And yet we 
are every day sinning against God in heart and by hand, in 
thought, word, and deed ; and we ask, nay entreat Him, not to 
observe our iniquities. " Si iniquitates observaveris Domine, 
Domine quis sustinebit" : and not to rebuke or punish us in 
His wrath. "Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me." We, who 
brook not the slightest affront, and who reprove in our anger 
the smallest transgression ! Do we really believe that He will 
listen to such prayers, while our own conduct proves what is 
our own practical judgment upon the matter? Nay, has not 
Himself already laid down this rule for His conduct towards 
us, that He will treat us precisely as we treat our neighbours ? 
If then, He find us simple and meek, such will He also show 
Himself to us; "Cum viro innocente innocens eris" If, on the 


other hand, He sees us obstinate in our hatreds, and resentful 
in our anger, with us, in our turn, we shall find Him the same : 
" cum perverso perverteris." Still more, may we ask ourselves 
what right have I to resent it, if men load me with injuries and 
reproaches 1 If friends rise against me, if my servants neglect 
me, Avhat is this, compared with what I have deserved by my 
innumerable sins against my God 1 If all creatures rose 
against me, why should I be angry, knowing that the Lord 
hath bidden them, as David said of Semei (2 Kings xvi. 10), 
and not rather humble myself and receive their inflictions as 
a just retribution for my offences 1 

3. Resolutions. " For behold, O God ! righteous and true, 
I have again and again deserved Thy anger, and stirred up Thy 
wrath ; and yet Thou hast ever shown Thyself most gentle and 
meek, long-suffering, and full of mercies. And I, wretched 
worm, presume to be fretful and peevish, wrathful and in 
dignant ! Thou wert sweet and mild towards the barbarians 
that tortured Thee, and put Thee to a cruel death ; towards 
Malchus and Judas, towards Pilate and Caiphas ; and I am 
difficult to please towards those better than myself in every 
good quality, my very friends and companions ! Oh, shame upon 
my wayward and ungentle disposition, so unlike Thy blessed 
nature, so unworthy of any follower of Thine ! But courage, I 
will study to come closer to Thy beautiful example, my loving 
Saviour ; I will repress this irritable temper, and correct its 
rebellious tendencies. I will humble myself under provoca 
tions, and I will treat those that trespass against me, as I would 
have Thee, against Whom I daily trespass, to deal with me ! " 

Jfouvtfj fHontlj, jFmtrtfj SSHccfc. 
THE PASSION. CALVARY. The Penitent, Thief. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your Saviour upon the 
Cross between two thieves, one of whom reviles Him, while 
the other defends and pleads for Him. 

1. Consider the indignity meant to be heaped upon the 
Blessed Jesus, by crucifying Him between two thieves, as 


though such were the fittest company for Him, and as though 
He nad well earned the post of infamy assigned Him between 
them. But He, in His mercy, well knew how to turn this in 
tended dishonour to His own glory ; first, by the fulfilment of 
prophecy, which had foretold that He should be reckoned and 
associated with the wicked, " et cum iniquis reputatus est :" 
and next, in the salvation of one of those who were joined with 
Him in punishment. And oh ! what an honour, what an 
opportunity of grace was here given to these infamous male 
factors in their last hour; as much as Jesus was abased by 
being joined with them, so much were they exalted by thus suf 
fering with Him. The two sons of Zebedee asked to sit one at 
His right hand, and the other at His left, in His kingdom, and 
were refused ; these two wretches were admitted to the honour, 
even now, when on His throne of grace, His mercy-seat as 
King, and King not only of the Jews, but of all mankind, 
purchasing and making them His inheritance. Who would not 
have bought this distinction (without their crimes) at the price 
of their sufferings 1 But what an awful lesson we have here in 
the difference of the fate which befel the two. For it pleased 
God to show forth, in the very hour of salvation, how all men 
were necessarily to belong to one or other of two different 
classes, the chosen and the reprobate j and while He exhibited 
the first fruits of life, plucked from the very tree of the cross, 
He gave the very first example of final reprobation upon that 
very instrument of salvation. It should have appeared im 
possible for any one, in that terrible moment, to have had room 
in his heart for cruel or inhuman feelings, especially towards 
the companion of his sufferings. The same fate involved all 
three ; death was certain to all ; there was no ground to hope 
that the sentence of a Roman judge, especially so justly pro 
nounced against two of them, would be reversed, and the 
delinquent taken down from the cross, in reward for pandering 
to the passions of the Jewish rabble, and joining in their 
reproaches to the One unjustly condemned. What motive, 
then, could have impelled one of the two malefactors to blas 
pheme and taunt Jesus in that dreadful state, with the miracu 
lous appearances around them of a darkened sky and nature in 
mourning ? What but the deepest perversity of nature, the 


most hardened impiety, the most obdurate malice ? What a 
proof have we here of the frightful length to which a corrupt 
heart may go in wickedness and impious presumption ! 

2. But let us turn from this more painful contemplation, and 
dwell rather on the consoling spectacle which the other side 
presents us, in the conduct of the penitent thief. He, touched 
by grace, and feeling this to be an hour of mercy, first publicly 
rebuked his fellow for his blasphemy, acknowledged his own 
guilt and demerits, and proclaimed the innocence of Jesus 
before His enemies, at a time when even His apostles had 
abandoned Him. Then he turned to his Saviour, and, making 
the strongest act of faith imaginable, thus addressed him : 
" Domine, memento mei, cum veneris in regnum tuum." To 
have acknowledged a hope in Christ s kingdom, while He was 
held in public estimation and honour, and while He was work 
ing signs and wonders, was considered an act of strong belief 
and trust. What was it then, when Jesus was stretched upon 
an infamous cross, publicly blasphemed and taunted for weak 
ness in not being able to rescue Himself from destruction, and 
now just about to expire 1 What a lively and strong faith 
was needed, to ask Him now to remember any one 
in His kingdom 1 When Joseph intreated the chief butler, 
who was the companion of his punishment, to remember 
him " when it should be well with him," because " innocent he 
had been cast into the dungeon" (Genesis xl. 14, 15), he only 
prepared for himself a bitter disappointment ; for he put his 
trust in deceitful man. But this good thief, acknowledging 
himself most justly punished (nam nos digna factis recipimus], 
and still making a similar request, is sure of its not being 
neglected ; he knoweth in Whom he hath trusted, and that He 
was both able and willing to grant him his request. How 
foolish, truly, must it have appeared to those who overheard 
it, for one sufferer nailed to a cross of shame and agony to ask 
another " in the same condemnation" to remember Him in his 
kingdom ! But how wise, how sublime the petition to the ears 
of faith ! For mark the answer which, in the midst of our 
Saviour s agony, it drew from Him. "Amen, dice tibi quia 
hodie mecum eris in paradiso" He does not say, in My king 
dom ; but in paradise in immediate happiness, in the possession 


of all that bliss whereof souls were capable, till the gates 
of heaven should be opened after forty-three days. Judge 
what must have been that poor thief s joy and happiness 
upon hearing these blessed words ! How his heart must have 
beat with delight at the tidings ; " in domum Domini ebimus ! " 
He, a few hours since a culprit before God as before man, an 
abandoned wretch, become in one moment a vessel of election, 
the first fruits of redemption, the first Saint of the new 
Covenant ! How light do all his torments now appear ! How 
he blesses his cross, which in the bitterness of his agony he had 
cursed when his impending execution was announced to him ! 
How he studies to copy, for the few moments of life that 
remain to him, the Divine Model placed before him ! How 
meek is he become, how resigned, how patient, how forgiving ! 
The sculptor could not copy more accurately the cast before 
him than he does the blessed Type at his side; each upon his 
cross, as brethren now, as loving friends ! How he welcomes 
the cruel strokes that break his limbs in order to despatch him ; 
having seen Jesus expire, he longs to hurry after Him, that 
there may be no delay in the fulfilment of His promise ! 
Never, surely, was repentance more complete, or its fruits 
more blessed than here. And why should I not hope for 
as much, if I make mine as sincere, as courageous, and as 
entire ? 

3. Affections. "I will draw nigh, then, to Thee, adorable 
Jesus, upon Calvary, and there, at Thy side, will I crucify all 
my evil desires and inordinate affections. The appetites of the 
flesh, the irregular attachments of my heart, the dangerous 
curiosity of my senses, the pride and ambition of my spirit, my 
whole self, the old man, transgressor of Thy law, and evil 
doer, shall be nailed to the cross. Then, with hands stretched 
out, I will cry to Thee for pardon, and for a place in Thy 
kingdom, among those who, headed by the good thief, have 
entered through the gate of repentance, and have been allowed 
to mingle songs of gratitude for forgiveness with the notes of 
praise which angels and saints unblemished ought alone to sing. 
One day, I know, we must all appear on Thy right hand, or on 
Thy left, as the two thieves were placed ; but let my choice 
have first been made beside Thee expiring to redeem me. 


Into the arms of Thy clemency I cast myself at that hour ; to 
those Hands that were pierced for me I commit my lot; to those 
lips which even gall could not embitter, I trust my sentence. I 
have sinned ; inflict on me what punishment Thou wilt, it will 
be less than I deserve ; but I will call upon Thee aloud, I will 
entreat Thee with all my heart, and Thou wilt not refuse to 
receive me to mercy : I may wait long, if such be Thy good 
pleasure, before I have my answer such as the good thief had ; 
but the hour will come when Thou wilt give me a benign 
assurance that the tears of a long life have been heeded, and 
the prayer of years heard. And when the voice of men is no 
longer audible, and the sleep of death creeps over my senses, 
and the recollection of a sinful life, and the terrors of hell 
affright me, I shall hear Thy sweet and gentle Voice say to me 
from the cross I have loved, Amen, I say to thee, this day 
thou shalt be with Me in paradise. " 

JFourtfj fHontfj, JFaurtfj SiSEceH. Saturtrag. 

SELF-EXAMINATION. On the care of the Senses and of the 


First make the monthly examination ; then proceed to the 
particular subject of this month s enquiry. 

First, on a guard over our senses. Am I careful to keep 
mv eyes from fixing themselves, or dwelling upon improper 
objects 1 When, through inadvertence or accident, they have 
fallen upon any such, do I lose no time in taking them instantly 
off again, and, by averting my mind, endeavour to efface any 
impression, however slight, which may have been produced 1 

Do I extend this careful watch to objects not in themselves 
unbecoming, but yet not unattended with danger for one so 
frail and weak as I am 1 When placed in situations where 
experience has shown me that I must not presume upon myself, 
or where I cannot avoid exposure to such more remote dangers, 
am I strictly on my guard to prevent any less virtuous feeling 

} Y 


from creeping into my heart, and giving it trouble ; and do I 
restrain my eyes as much as possible 1 Examine. 

Do I keep my eyes from wandering about, running in a 
manner away from me, and roving from object to object, with 
out any specific end ; but still incurring thereby some danger 
of falling upon what may give rise to trouble ? And is this 
watchfulness particularly severe when abroad in the street and 
other public places 1 Examine. 

Am I careful, in reading and studying, to check all vain and 
unprofitable curiosity, which would lead me, without sufficient 
reason, to pry into idle or dangerous knowledge? Or do 
I restrain myself from foolish and unprofitable reading ? 

Are my ears chaste, so as to listen with no pleasure or 
willingness to immodest conversation, or anything which even 
approaches it 1 Are they faithful to hear only with pain all 
irreligious or scoffing speeches against God, or His doctrines, or 
the practices of His holy Church 1 Am I sensibly afflicted 
when even by accident I ever hear any blasphemy, imprecation, 
or unbecoming language 1 Examine. 

Do I turn a deaf ear, as much as possible, to calumnious or 
unjust conversations ? Do I refuse to listen to rash judgments 
or insinuations against others 1 Do I prevent such discourses 
from making any lasting impression on my mind, when I have 
not avoided hearing them 1 Examine. 

Am I careful to preserve all my senses from seeking after 
mere gratifications, without profit, and indulging in sensual 
and dangerous delight 1 Do I keep them all under the control 
of reason, under the dominion of the spirit 1 Do I use them 
as the servants and ministers of the soul, and take care that 
they become not masters ? Examine. 

Secondly, on a guard over the tongue. Do I keep this 
unruly member under restraint, so as never to let it talk at 
random, and inconsiderately ; but always after reflection, and 
under good government 1 Examine. 

Do I carefully refrain from all irreligious discourse, from all 
ridicule of religious practices, however unusual and strange 
they may appear to me ? Do I avoid all scornful observations 
upon the actions of virtuous men, all jeers at miraculous events, 


all ridicule of extraordinary piety 1 Do I restrain myself from 
all jesting with sacred things or words, as with the phrases of 
Scripture, applying them profanely ; or the sentiments of 
spiritual writers 1 Examine. 

Do I place a bridle upon my tongue, so as never to allow 
it to slip into expressions bordering upon indelicacy, or likely 
to excite such ideas in the minds of others 1 Do I, on the con 
trary, study that my words should be most pure and simple, 
avoiding all ambiguity which could clothe any, even remotely, 
unclean idea 1 Examine. 

Do I most scrupulously abstain from all untruth, even in 
matters of lighter moment, and where inconvenience is to be 
avoided? Is my speech in the simplicity of its import, 
"yea, yea," and "nay, nay"? Do I take all pains to avoid 
leading others into error by negligence or studied ambiguity 1 

Am I truly careful about the reputation of my neighbour in 
my conversation 1 Do I especially guard myself against all 
diminution of his fair fame, by relating what is not to his 
credit, even though true ; much more as to anything that is 
doubtful 1 Do I refrain from all insinuations, misinterpreta 
tions, hints, or other indirect ways of injuring his character ? 
Do I impute evil motives to actions in themselves good, or at 
best indifferent ? Do I defend him when absent and unjustly 
attacked, and excuse him to the best of my power when I can 
do nothing better 1 Examine. 

Is it my study to make my conversation as charitable and 
edifying as possible, avoiding all scurrility and all that can 
hurt others feelings 1 Do I love to speak of virtue and holy 
things, and try to introduce such topics as may lead others to 
love it ? Examine. 

Does my tongue often praise God, whether with others or 
alone, and employ itself in blessing Him, and giving Him 
glory as it ever should 1 Does it find pleasure and sweetness 
in speaking of Him and to Him 1 Examine. 

Having seen whether on these various points we have been 
remiss, or have used some diligence and care, make one or 
other of the following prayers, according to what you discover 
in yourself. 

Y 2 


for tfjc jFtrst (ase. 
" Behold, O Lord, I have transgressed Thy law, using ill the 
senses which Thou hast given me for the edification of others, 
for Thy glory, and for my own salvation. I have neglected to 
watch over these my senses ; I have let them run after vanities, 
deceits, and dangers. Little indeed have I governed them ; but 
rather allowed them to rebel against Thee. Forgive, merciful 
God, this past neglect, and impute it to frailty rather than to any 
wilfulness or malice. And from henceforth strengthen me to 
do better than I have hitherto done: Averte oculos rneos, ne 
videant vanitatem. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et 
ostium circumstantial labiis meis. ( Sepi aures meets spinis } 
(Eccli. xxviii. 29). Guard every avenue to the mind by the 
vigilant custody of Thy good angels, that sin and death may 
not enter in by them ; through Jesus Christ Thy Consub- 
stantial Son. Amen." 

for tlje 5econo (ase. 
" I give Thee thanks, O Lord, Father of our dear Saviour 
Christ Jesus, that Thou hast been pleased to watch over Thy 
poor servant, though unworthy of so much favour ; giving me 
the grace to watch over myself, if not as I ought, at least as far 
as my poor ability has allowed me. Not to us, Lord, not 
to us, but to Thy name give glory. Blessed be Thy name for 
ever for such condescending love. Strengthen then in me this 
my good purpose : Confirma hanc voluntalem ; and grant that 
through Thy merciful safeguard I may be preserved in future 
from all dangers, and ever redouble and increase my diligence 
in preserving my tongue and every other sense, not only from 
sin but from every peril. Through Jesus Christ. Amen." 

jRftfj fflotttlj, jRrst S2aft StmSag. 

END OF MAN. It is to love and to know God. 
(To know Him). 

1. Eeflect, ho\v, if God made man for Himself, all his 
faculties and powers should tend and be directed towards his 

END OF MAN. 325 

Creator. The fact of any one thing being formed for a certain 
purpose, implies that its powers and action should be ever 
pointed and directed towards it. If man, therefore, was made 
for God, towards God he should ever tend. And if he was so 
made, then was his heart, and his mind, and all his soul made 
for the same end, and all of them should tend by their par 
ticular affections or powers towards Him. If the under 
standing discovered how it must ever study to know Him, and 
by deep meditation to apprehend, however feebly, His infinite 
perfections and manifold beauties ; if it found in this the 
principal accomplishment of its end, the heart must no less feel 
itself called to love Him, and make Him the great object of all 
its affections. Surely, the very consideration that God has been 
so good to us as to create us for Himself, should alone be a 
sufficient motive to induce us to love Him. But reason is 
enough to satisfy us of this duty. For if we have seen how 
all created things put together did not form a proper object for 
the powers of man, spiritual and immortal as he is ; it is only 
the Eternal and Infinite, that is God, that can fill their capacity 
and worthily engage them. What then shall we say of love, 
the most sublime and sacred of human affections 1 Can it have 
been given us for inferior objects, and not for the highest and 
noblest that can engage it 1 ? The truly beautiful, the truly 
excellent, the truly amiable, the essentially good and perfect 
alone can worthily do so. Nay, while such a Being exists, and 
not only allows but invites us to love Him, and calls us to 
dedicate to Him those affections which He himself has bestowed 
upon us, how shall we permit meaner and less worthy objects 
to engross our desires and the longings of our hearts ? No ! 
God alone is that ocean of all excellence, whereon a soul that 
aspires by its very nature after the infinite, can launch itself 
forth, secure of finding, whichever way it turns, the endless 
perfection after \vhich it seeks. When we have loved other 
objects long, they at length fade away ; when we have loved 
them well, we discover them to be full of imperfection ; when 
we have loved them sincerely, we find them hollow ; when we 
have loved them intensely, we are not repaid. But when we 
have loved God, with heart and mind, with spirit and soul, by 
will and deed ; when we have loved Him by day and by night, 


from infancy to old age ; when we have loved Him alone ; yet 
have we not come near to what He deserves, not within an 
infinite distance of the love He had borne us in any one 
moment of our lives, not so as to have discharged a sensible 
atom of that weighty debt of love we owe Him. Oh ! how we 
shall sink below the dignity of our end, if we love not God, 
supremely and incessantly ! 

2. Reflect how this love of God must necessarily lead us to 
serve Him ; for this too must be the end of our being. God 
made us for Himself. " Omnia propter semetipsum fecit " He 
is a jealous God, who will not allow us to alienate in favour of 
inferior objects that which of right is His. He requires some 
thing from us in return for the much which He has given us ; 
and that, whatever it may be, is the service we ow^e Him. 
The expression explains itself; we must ever be the servants 
of God. The servant must ever have the will of his master 
before him, as his rule and guidance ; he does not plan from 
morning to night what would best please himself, or what it 
would suit himself to do ; he must inquire and consider what his 
master expects of him, what he should next get ready for his use 
or convenience ; and if he be a faithful and attached servant, 
he goes beyond the rigid line of duty, and considers what would 
give his master pleasure ; he studies to surprise him by per 
forming many things for him which the master has not thought 
of ordering. Now we are not merely the servants of God, but 
the very work of His hands ; we should, therefore, take such 
practice for our model. We ought to forget our own paltry 
interests and pleasures in the loving interest we take in all that 
concerns our good and dear Master. We should have what 
will best please Him ever uppermost in our thoughts, and make 
it the rule of our actions. Comfort, ease, peace, joy, every 
consideration of ourselves must be put aside when His service 
calls for the sacrifice. Labour and difficulty, danger and 
suffering, must not be measured or calculated when His blessed 
cause requires them. We shall not then weigh anything 
that concerns Him according to any cold or ungenerous 
standard ; but anticipate His desires and go beyond His com 
mands. " Ecce, sicut oculi servorum in manibus dominorum 
suorum, et sicut oculi ancillce in manibus domincB succ, ita 


oculi nostri ad Dominum" Yes, we will be as faithful ser 
vants, allowed to stand in the immediate presence, and near 
the person of their lord, who wait not till he speak and com 
mand them, but watch the slightest sign he gives, and divine 
by a gesture what he desires. So will we ever study to as 
certain, whether by God s Holy Word, or through His faithful 
interpreter the Church, what are His wishes, even beyond what, 
He has been pleased to enjoin as His law; and upon the 
smallest intimation that anything we can do will give Him 
pleasure, be ready to perform it. Thus shall we serve God with 
a perfect heart \ and prove that we are no venal servants, no 
unwilling slaves, but free and voluntary members of His house 
hold, who obey and minister to Him from an impulse of love. 

3. Kesolutions. " I will love Thee, therefore, my God ! 
because my heart was made for no other end, and can find no 
object worthy of its affections but Thyself. In Thee alone it 
has rest, and a sufficient end and motive for the loving energies 
bestowed upon it. It gives back to Thee only what from Thee 
it received ; it spends upon Thee what Thou didst bestow upon 
it. It claims no merit, it asks no reward ; it is no more than 
Thy due that it strives to give. I will serve Thee, my 
God, because I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid. 
Thou hast created me that I might do Thy will ; and behold 
I have desired it, and Thy law in the midst of my heart. Let 
my sentiment ever be ; " Nonne in iis quce Patris mei sunt 
oportet me esse ? " to do the good pleasure of Thee to whom 
I owe everything, to do it zealously, lovingly and fervently, 
this shall be my study and most earnest endeavour. Give me, 
dear Lord, Thy grace and strength, that I may thus ever 
perform Thy holy will." 

JHftlj iJflontfj, jfirst Wittk 

LAST THINGS. DEATH. On the judgment we shall then 

form of ourselves. (On the World.) 

Preparation. Imagine yourself placed upon your death-bed, 
and engaged in meditating upon this important subject, alone, 
by night. 


1. Reflect how we know not when our hour will come, nor 
how soon our Master will stand at the gate and knock for 
admission. It may be to-morrow ; it may be this very day. . 
This evening I may be indeed placed in the situation I have 
just imagined. Were this to be the case, then, the self on 
whom I should meditate, and on whom I should have to form 
a judgment, would be what I am this moment. I could not 
then amuse myself as I do now, with what I hope one day to 
do and to be ; but I must be content to go out of the world 
such as I now find myself, with no more good about me than 
the very little I already possess. Let me see, therefore, how I 
should have to reason. And first of all, what a precious, what 
an invaluable thing my soul would seem to me, formed to the 
image of God, redeemed with the blood of His eternal Son, 
cleansed in the laver of regeneration by the virtue of the Holy 
Ghost ! And this soul I have possessed for years, held of God, 
and I valued it not. It has been in my hands as some picture 
by a first master, the representation too of some celebrated hero, 
valuable beyond price for its authorship, and its subject ; 
which is at length discovered in a cottage, unprized by its 
owner, and allowed by his neglect to be covered with smoke 
and dust. Our astonishment will be like his, when some one 
shows him that it is, and has all along been, an object of 
immense value. Yes, how shall we prize our souls when we 
shall see all things else fade around us ; riches, friends, time, 
earth, our bodies ; and see our souls, not only stand untouched, 
unaltered by the universal wreck, but even thereby more clearly 
manifested, and placed in a fresh light, to show their own native 
worth. But this soul, will it then appear to us naked and 
deserted, upon the destruction of all that surrounds it ? Oh no. 
It will appear covered, laden with a record of benefits and 
mercies, that shall never be effaced. How countless, yet how 
signal and individual, do the blessings now seem wherewith 
God, the merciful and most bountiful, has visited and adorned 
it ! What a mercy it will then seem to me to have been 
chosen among millions to be blessed with the light of truth 
and saving faith ! What a grace to have been withdrawn 
from the world at an early age, placed in refuge in the porch 
of God s sanctuary, and brought up under the shadow of His 


wing; till, leading me by the hand, He brought me within 
the veil, making me daily partaker and minister of His mys 
teries of grace and love ! What innumerable preservations 
from dangers of body and soul, from death temporal and eternal ! 
What long suffering and patience with me, what gentleness 
and meekness, what loving calls, what gracious invitations, 
what allurements to bring me to the things that are for my 
peace ! and sometimes, perhaps, what consolations, and what 
happiness in His service, during those brief seasons of fervour, 
which have from time to time broken my state of stagnant 
indifference ! Oh, such should I now appear to myself, on one 
side, if God called me to a reckoning with myself to-day, or in 
three days, or a week hence : a creature made for heaven, 
destined to win it, and furnished with all the means necessary 
for the noble purpose ! For that awful moment will purge 
every error and dimness from the eye, and enable me to see 
myself as I am before God. 

2. Reflect how we should find ourselves on the other side of 
our account. The soul will seem clothed with innumerable and 
inestimable blessings, but at the same time it will seem covered 
with works, either such as like a transparent veil of glorious 
light will allow the register of God s benefits to shine through 
fairer in its fairness, or else such as like a dark funereal pall 
cover, bury, hide, and deface them ! Oh, of which character 
will mine appear 1 Many years have I lived, but in them all, 
what have I done for God 1 How day has rolled after day, 
month after month ; and yet how much or how little of them 
has been given to Him, or been spent in His service 1 Years 
of preparation have been given me for a sublime ministry ; how 
have I profited by them ? how far have I advanced in fitness 
for its duties I Ample means have been afforded me for study 
and cultivating my mind ; and what have I learnt 1 Innu 
merable opportunities have been presented of nourishing in my 
soul virtue and devotion ; and what progress have I made in 
either 1 My abilities, whatever they are, have been neglected ; 
my time has been mis-spent, my thoughts have been left un 
checked, my senses ungoverned, my flesh unmodified, my soul 
unadorned by a single virtue ! I am yet proud, vain, ambitious, 
uncharitable, full of self-love and self-will ; I have made no 


step in the way of perfection to which I have been called ; and 
such I must appear at the bar of an inexorable Judge ! Then 
what shall I say of the load of sins which will appear to op 
press nie, the sins of childhood, the sins of boyhood, the sins 
of youth ; thoughts without wisdom, desires without restraint, 
words without rule, actions without law, prayers neglected or 
ill said, studies unheeded, meals intemperate, recreations dissi 
pated, Sacraments coldly frequented, charity often broken, truth 
violated, obedience neglected, and those many transgressions 
which God only knows, but which perhaps in that hour I also 
shall know too clearly ! Such then shall I appear to myself : 
on the one hand, as far as God s part is concerned, a creature 
most noble, most excellent, and rendered a thousand times more 
so by the unceasing benefits poured upon me by His bounty. 
On my own part, most unfit to appear in His presence ; defiled, 
debased, degraded from my original condition and sublime end, 
and anxious for a reprieve that I may redeem my past sins, and 
the time I have lost, by doing something for God ! And yet 
it will then be too late ; time has run on to its last grains of 
sand, which, even while I thus judge myself preparatory to 
God s judgment, are gliding the quicker, because the last, from 
the glass that contains my allotted measure ! 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " Alas ! what shall I do in 
that last hour 1 What should I do, if, like a thief, it were to 
surprise me this night 1 How would the terrors of hell and 
the pains of death encompass me, and how would my enemies 
straiten me on every side 1 On what patron should I call, 
when scarce the just man will be safe 1 

Quid sum miser tune dicturus, 
Quern patronum rogaturus 
Cum vix Justus sit securus ? 

Oh, how bitterly shall I regret much that I now make 
light of, and wish but for an hour of that time which per 
haps this very day I have prodigally squandered ! What 
would I not give but for the day I have just spent, and how 
differently should I spend it 1 But, my God ! as yet, thanks 
to Thy mercy, my remedy is in my own hands. What is yet 
future to me will one day be the past, upon which I shall have 
to form this judgment, should Thy goodness spare me a little 


longer. Why not then live so as that, when past, it may seem 
to me something like what I now prospectively desire it to be ; 
a time of comforting memories, of duties fulfilled, of aspira 
tions realized, of good desires that have borne fruit, of Thy 
service fervently performed, of my tongue well regulated, of 
my body chaste, my mind pure, my heart most loving, my entire 
being all Thine 1 Thus shall that hour be stripped of all its 
terrors ; and I shall repose on the bed of death, as upon Thy 
bosom, in the cheering hope of its being the means of speedily 
bringing me to Thee." 

JFtftfj Horttfj, jftrst 

ON GOD AND His BENEFITS. On Gratitude to Him for our 
Reason and Soul. (Physical Goods.) 

1. Reflect what it is that raises us above the inferior inani 
mate creation that surrounds us, and ministers to our wants ; 
and you will see that it is that gift of God which we call 
reason ; an intelligence which enables us to act not from 
impulse, or by an unchangeable law, but by a rule of what is 
fitting, based upon the consideration of motives. It is through 
this that man is shown to be the centre, the object, and the 
master of this lower world. It is in consequence of this great 
privilege that the Psalmist writes of him " Minuisti eum paulo 
minus ab angelis, gloria et honore coronasti eum, et jiosuisti eum 
super opera manuum tuarum : omnia subjecisti sub pedibus ejus." 
But this intelligence of man is not given him merely to contrast 
with irrational creatures. It raises him far above this earth, 
and enables him to soar beyond the boundaries which his senses 
would prescribe. He may follow trains of reasoning into the 
regions of most abstract science, and discourse within himself 
concerning the properties both of the finite and infinite, as 
though he could behold them. In all these its sublime 
functions, the reason of man finds a delight and an elevation, 
far superior to what earthly objects can give. Even men who 
have no deep religious convictions, even heathen plilosophers, 
have been enabled by the power of such contemplations to 


forget sufferings, and despise death. But the intelligence of 
man bears him further than all these things; even to the 
knowledge of God. It proves to him that he was not made 
for earth or its low enjoyments, but for the knowledge and 
apprehension of his Maker. His thoughts aspire after the 
great, the sublime, the interminable, the perfect ; and all this 
he can find in none but God. Every other object appears 
unworthy of the full esteem of the soul, when once He has 
been truly discovered. Now, what gratitude do we not owe 
Him for such a blessing 1 Imagine yourself for a moment, 
instead of what you now are, as one even of the most sagacious 
and amiable of inferior creatures ; what a deep step from 
honour to ignominy, from nobility to vileness, does it not 
appear? Can you even comprehend yourself under such an 
imaginary change 1 The Jews every day, in their appointed 
prayers, thank God that He made them human beings, and not 
of another order. We Christians scarcely ever think, of con 
sidering it any favour and blessing at all ! But, above all, 
how should our reason itself be ever on the alert to render 
Him homage, thanksgiving, and tokens of gratitude, by placing 
itself entirely at His disposal, submitting with docility to His 
teaching, and busying itself unceasingly with the thought and 
contemplation of Him. Such would be the true manner of 
repaying Him, as far as our power extends, for the benefits 
He has bestowed on us through this precious gift. 

2. Reflect how this gift of reason is in reality but the action 
of the soul, and that the soul is another present which we have 
received from God. This is indeed what constitutes man, 
united for the present with the body, but capable of a separate 
existence from it. It is that which gives vitality to the mortal 
frame, and forms the seat of those noble qualities, that as truly 
distinguish him from other beings as the gift of reason. Such 
are imagination, memory, will, and the moral qualities of love, 
benevolence, social attachments, &c. It is spiritual as the angels 
of God, imperishable as God Himself. Were all nature to be 
destroyed, were the sun and earth to clash, and one of us to be 
buried in the midst of the chaotic ruin, though our body should 
be broken and crushed to atoms by such a collision, yet this little 
spark of life would be unhurt, and would find its way through 


the ruins, without the slightest injury. It is as an emanation 
of the divine Mind, a communication of his immortality. But 
not only is it thus indestructible ; it is moreover destined to 
enjoy Him for ever. It was created immortal, that it might 
for ever be with God, a partaker of His happiness, as well as of 
His endless being. It will one day be capable of this par 
ticipation; for it will be capable of seeing Him face to face, 
and of comprehending, so far as is requisite or sufficient for 
our happiness, His ineffable and infinite Essence. What a 
sublime destiny ! What an incomprehensible dignity ! Will 
the soul that understands it, and that knows how to value it, 
continue to content itself with earthly, sensible pleasures, 
which gratify only its lowest passions, its corrupted part, 
tainted by the original transgression, and not rather soar after 
anticipating, as far as possible, the object of its creation by 
uniting itself now with God, and placing all its happiness in 
Him ? Even if the Christian religion did not show us that 
soul an object of God s continued love, the object, too, of His 
most watchful care, and of a most glorious redemption ; yet the 
very gift of it is a claim that He has upon our gratitude, such 
as we can never satisfy. It is well that He has made it im 
mortal, that so it may have an eternity, wherein to bless, 
praise, and pour forth its endless thanks to Him for so great a 

3. Affections. " my sovereign and gracious Creator, to 
whom I owe all things, and gratitude for all ; to whom 
especially I owe the inestimable gift of a rational soul, capable 
not only of knowing but of loving and possessing Thee, and 
for this blessing, an interminable, unlimited gratitude, accept 
my fervent and most sincere thanks for this inestimable kind 
ness. Every time I breathe, I draw upon Thee for a fresh 
favour. Oh, let every breath then be likewise an act of 
homage, of thankfulness, and praise. But, at the same time, 
or, rather, much more, teach me to dedicate these Thy gifts to 
Thy service ; let nothing created rob Thee of the smallest 
portion of Thy due within me, by trenching upon the love and 
service to which Thou hast an unlimited claim in my soul. 
These I reserve for Thee alone, who hast given me the source 
whence they spring ; let them be wholly Thine. Yet Thou 


knowest my frailty and weakness ; and if my heart ever for a 
moment run after creatures, snatch it away from them, and 
restore it to its true office, that of loving Thee above all things, 
and thanking Thee for Thy mercies. JBenedic, anima mea, 
Domino, et omnia quce intra me sunt, nomini sancto ejus." 

jfiftfj fKUmtfj, JKrst TOeefc. 


Presentation in the Temple. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself the Blessed Virgin 
entering the Temple with her infant Son in her arms, and 
performing all that was prescribed on such occasions by the 

1. Reflect how modest and humble was the first visit of the 
Son of God to that Temple which of right was His, and which 
His presence in it more proudly honoured than all the gold 
and precious stones that adorned it. To the eyes of angels 
these all looked paltry and dim before the radiance of His 
presence ; the sanctuary itself seemed but poor, when compared 
with the outward precincts where the Divine incarnate anti 
type of all ancient symbols was present. He, the Lamb, light 
and brightness of heaven, the lamp of the heavenly Jerusalem, 
now illuminated the temple of earth, and seemed to put an 
end to all the shadowy worship of the older covenant. But to 
the eyes of men, what was passing but an every-day scene 1 a 
young mother who came to present her first-born son, seeming 
in all things like to the rest of the sons of men, and betraying 
no signs of a sublimer nature or of a divine character. How 
many, seeing the poor attire of this virgin Mother, who shrinks 
from the gaze of the multitude, the poor Infant, the humble 
carpenter, the offering which she brings of only a pair of turtle 
doves, haughtily pass them by, as persons of no consequence, 
and not worthy of a glance. And yet there is accomplishing 
in that humble presentation one of the noblest prophecies in 
their sacred volume : " Et statim veniet ad templum Nominator 
Dominies quern vos quceritis, et angelus testimonii quern vos 


vultis " (Malachi iii. 1). What a very different spectacle had 
it been when His ancestor Joas in his infancy was revealed to 
his people in the Temple; when Joiada placed him upon a 
platform, " and put the diadem upon him, and the testimony, 
and they made him king and anointed him; and clapping 
their hands they said, God save the King ! . and all 

the people of the land were rejoicing, and sounding the 
trumpets" (4 Kings xi. 12, 14). All this for a boy who was 
afterwards to turn out a worthless man ! while the Divine 
Child, the true King of Israel, the Lord of the Temple, who 
had a right to be worshipped in it, is allowed to appear there 
unheeded, unattended, without a look of recognition, or one 
thought about Him. No trumpets of His Levites proclaim 
Him ; no sacred oil in the hands of His priests anoints Him ; 
no voice from His people greets Him. " In propria venit, et 
sui eum non receperunt ! " He quits the precincts of the holy 
place without a sign of recognition, beyond the mysterious 
words of Simeon and Anna. And is He not daily so treated 
now in His Temple, concealed under the sacramental species, 
while men go in and heed Him not ? They admire the paint 
ings or the rich materials, but Him who is the Lord of the 
Temple they do not notice ; they scarcely adore or bless Him. 
Let us then, whenever we enter, compensate for this neglect by 
recognizing our Blessed Saviour under His disguise of love, 
and gratefully adore Him. 

2. Reflect upon the various feelings which occupy the mem 
bers of that little group, surrounding the Infant here presented. 
First, Simeon, the venerable old man, one of the last lingering 
servants of the patriarchal race, who in simplicity of heart had 
walked before God, has here the promise made to him fulfilled, 
that he should not see death until he should see the Christ of 
the Lord. He valued life no further than as it should fulfil to 
him this promise ; he regarded not the light of his eyes, but as 
it should show him the face of his Saviour. Long had he 
sighed for his dissolution, save that its delay was the condition 
of his being with Christ. Long had he sighed to be dismissed 
in peace from the midst of a carnal generation, but that he still 
more earnestly desired to see the dayspring of a better age. 
See, then, with what joyful heart he hastens for the last time 


to the Temple to see his wishes accomplished, to have this 
promise fulfilled ! See with what reverence he greets the 
Virgin Mother, how his eyes beam with delight when privi 
leged to hold the Divine Infant in his arms, and looking up to 
the heaven after which he aspired, he breaks forth into that 
canticle of thanksgiving and praise, " Nunc dimittis servum 
tuum, Domine" How contentedly did he return home, pre 
pared for his grave, secure that his admission into happiness 
would not long be delayed. Anna, too, the venerable widow 
of four score and four years, who, amidst fasting and prayer, 
had served day and night, was alone found worthy to represent 
the other sex, on this sacred occasion, and allowed to- pay her 
homage to her Infant Lord. Oh, how did she too find her 
long pilgrimage repaid, and her many years of hard service 
amply requited, by this short hour, in which the Spirit of God 
brought her into the presence of her Redeemer ! One approv 
ing smile from His infant lips, one loving kiss upon His brow, 
was well worth earning at this or a much dearer price. But 
how shall we be able to estimate the feelings of Mary herself on 
this occasion? She feels all the joy which a mother naturally 
must feel, to see the child of her womb so honoured and 
caressed by persons of such eminent sanctity. She beholds 
with unspeakable delight how others, besides herself and 
Joseph, begin to know and to reverence Him, and how He is 
considered an object of hope and longing expectation by those 
who wait for the redemption of Israel. But yet she marvels 
how she, the poor handmaid of the Lord, can have been found 
worthy to be so honoured. With what modest composure, yet 
with what inward joy, does she hear those acts of praise and 
adoration offered to her Divine Child ! But, alas ! what a 
cruel conclusion to all her joy : " Et tuam ipsius animam 
gladius j)ertransibit " (Luke ii. 35). Ah, why reveal to thee, 
O Mary, so soon thy future sorrows 1 why embitter all the rest 
of thy blessed life, by this pang, never to be removed from thy 
breast 1 Oh, Queen of sorrow, prepare from henceforth for 
grief and afflictions, since thou art the Mother of an afflicted 
and persecuted God ! "With what additional love didst thou 
press thy Babe to thy bosom, upon learning how much you 
were both one day to suffer together ! 


3. Affections. " Dear and blessed Saviour, how poor were 
ever Thy triumphs compared with Thy sufferings, until these 
were accomplished ! How poorly compensated was Thy eleva 
tion on a cross, by riding into Jerusalem upon an ass ; the 
stable of Bethlehem, by the adoration of shepherds ; Thy flight 
into Egypt, by the visit of the Magi ; the humiliation of Thy 
Presentation, by the worship of Simeon. For Thou earnest to 
the Temple as one having to be redeemed by a pair of doves, 
whilst Thou art the Redeemer of all mankind. Thou earnest 
as a suppliant, while Thou art the giver of all good gifts ; Thou 
earnest as a sinner, and Thou art He that forgiveth sin. Oh, 
how hast Thou stooped for love of me ! What humiliations, 
beginning with Thy birth and ending -only with Thy death ! 
Let me often in spirit join in the moving scenes of Thy humble 
triumphs, adding to them the tribute of a grateful and sym 
pathizing heart. Let me, like holy Simeon, have no desire to 
live, except till mine eyes have seen Thy salvation come upon 
my people. Let my days be prolonged till I see Thy holy 
religion once more spread over the land of my heart as of my 
fathers, and triumphing over every opposition of earth and hell. 
Let this day be yet far off and I refuse no length of toil to 
partake in bringing it round : let it be near, and I will close 
my eyes in my youth with peace. But whenever it be, let it 
be with the same viaticum as holy Simeon and Anna, with Thee, 
my blessed Jesus, in my bosom." 

jftftfj fHontlj, jFirst 2Eccft. Cfjursfcag. 

1. Reflect how, beyond all other virtues, this of charity has a 
right to the title of theological and divine. For there is none 
other thao so directly aims at God, and seeks to come close to 
Him and cleave to Him with undivided attachment. For faith 
and hope busy themselves with many things, most holy indeed 
and appertaining to God and His service, His attributes, His 
promises, His doctrines, His rewards : they are thus, like 
Martha, ministering unto Him. But charity is as Mary sitting 


tranquilly at His feet, looking up into His blessed countenance, 
ever watching for some expression of pardon from His lips, 
and of approval from His eyes. Faith and hope are engaged 
with considerations, dark and to the end mysterious ; truths 
far beyond the powers of human reason, and joys beyond the 
sphere of man s imagination. Love is engaged with what it 
clearly sees, the goodness and amiability of God, which present 
themselves through every perception, and leave their impres 
sion in every remembrance. Faith loses itself in the immensity 
of its object, bewildering itself in the infinity of God, till it 
sinks down wearied, and believes still in the dark. Hope, 
striving in vain to mature itself into certainty, is ever kept in 
some degree of apprehension, and cannot be so entertained as 
to banish from the heart every fluttering of fear. But charity 
understands all that it desires, the immense goodness and loveli 
ness of our God : the less it can measure these, the more they 
win it and seem worthy of it. It feels no hesitation, no re 
serve , but flies with unbounded confidence to His bosom, and 
there casts off all selfish thoughts, all fear, all uneasiness about 
itself, in the thought of His uncreated bliss and of His love. 
The other two virtues dwell in the porch of God s house ; 
they are as the lamp and the perfume of the outer sanctuary, 
placed here to enlighten and refresh us, who worship without 
the veil. But charity belongs as well to the Holy of Holies, 
enters in when the time comes for that veil to be withdrawn, 
and lives and loves there where faith and hope are ended, 
and have no place. Oh ! what a noble virtue must this be, 
how truly sublime, and how nearly approaching to God. But 
the striking advantage which it possesses beyond the others 
consists in this, that while they are exerted in regard to God, 
and His good things iri His invisible nature, charity may take 
for its object what can sensibly affect it. The God in whom it 
rests, has been "manifest in the flesh," and has thus presented 
Himself as a visible object of those affections which we feel 
towards such as we love on earth. We may contemplate Him 
thus as become our dear brother, submitting to the sufferings 
and afflictions to which we are subject, and thus engaging us to 
a love, at once fraternal and sympathetic, such as a tenderly- 
loved brother would receive from us in sickness or distress. 


We may contemplate Him in infancy, with all that attraction 
of innocence and simplicity which gains our hearts for a child 
even where we have no special interest of kindred : much more 
for one that becomes in some measure ours. Or we may look 
upon Him in His last hour, become the sacrifice for sin, suffer 
ing every indignity of His painful passion for our sakes. Under 
all these various aspects our affections are engaged, and we love 
the God who underwent these humiliating changes on our 
behalf, with warmth of heart such as has no corresponding 
feeling in the other theological virtues. Oh, what pains should 
we take to acquire this most heavenly virtue, by constant 
meditation upon its motives, and by earnest prayer to God that 
He will bestow it upon us. 

2. Reflect how good it is of God to have given or allowed 
such a virtue as this of charity. For, in the first place, the 
immense distance between us and Him is such as would seem 
to preclude the existence of such a feeling between us. Love 
establishes a species of equality between the parties ; at any 
rate it tends to ease and confidence in the relation between 
them. When two friends really love one another, what one 
possesses seems in a manner to become common to the other 
also. Brothers, children and parents, all the ordinary parties 
to compacts of affection acquire a certain claim to reciprocal 
feelings that allows them to address one another in terms of 
familiarity. Hence is it so often said that a monarch can have 
no real friend ; because difference of rank allows no one to rise 
to that show of affection which only equality of treatment can 
give. Yet it is evident that God intends our love of Him to 
be of that most perfect kind which gives full assurance that 
neither in expression nor in act we can presume too far. We 
need not be afraid of being checked as intrusive or presump 
tuous if our words are most tender, or our actions most devoted. 
The smallest present or token of affection will be received from 
us with kindest acceptance, and the most heroic dedication of 
ourselves to Him will be requited by a tenfold return of 
loving reward that proves Him to be no selfish or ungenerous 
lover. Again, the love which a subject would be allowed to 
bear his prince would always be restrained by that awe and 
fear in which human majesty seeks to shroud itself. But our 


love of God expels all fear, "perfecta charitas for as mittit 
timorem" He wills us to love Him with a pure and perfect 
and unmixed love, free from all dread, as from all selfishness ; 
and even as friend loves friend. Nor is this all. It would 
have been an untold condescension to admit us to this sublime 
privilege of loving Him, had we remained in our first state of 
innocence and justice. What is it then, after we have fallen 
from it, have been degraded from our almost heavenly to an 
earthly nature by original sin ; and have been disgraced and 
contaminated by our own iniquities 1 We, on whom His scourge 
ought even to fall, we, whose eyes ought not to presume to look 
up towards heaven, to be yet allowed to love Him, and address 
Him as still loving us ! But the goodness of God in permitting 
to us this virtue, is incomparably greater, if we consider that 
He might, on the other hand, have exacted it from us without 
allowing it to be of the slightest merit before Him. Who 
thinks he deserves anything for loving his parents, or imagines 
he is performing thereby any act of virtue ? Nature pleads 
for that love. And so is it a singular trait of God s infinite 
goodness, that He should have made that love, which the 
same virtue teaches and stimulates, and which consequently is 
so easy, the sublimest and the most richly rewarded of all 

3. Affections. " Yes, dear and loving God ! Thou mightest 
even have exacted a heavy burden of duties, unsweetened by 
this heavenly feeling ; and we could not have complained. 
Thou mightest have made us toil the whole day to serve Thee, 
without the privilege of doing it through love. But Thou 
art a father, and not a tyrant ; a friend, and no taskmaster. 
Thou dost allow my affections to soar towards Thee, and seek 
for their rest in the Bosom of Thy goodness. There, then, 
shall be my resting-place, my refuge, my sanctuary, my happi 
ness. There I will dwell, in contemplation of Thy manifold 
mercies, of Thy infinite condescension in allowing me, so 
low, so wretched, so worthless a creature, to aspire to the 
love of Thee, and to challenge Thy love in return ! And I 
will love Thee the more, the less worthy I feel myself of 
this kindness. Thy condescension shall ever be on my lips and 
in my heart, to bless and to praise Thee. But not by words 


only ; by deeds will I prove that I love Thee, and with the 
fondest love. No cup shall seem bitter, which this honey 
sweetens ; no yoke heavy which this feeling helps to support ; 
no suffering grievous, which is endured for the love of Thee." 

JHftfj IHontlj, JFtrst E&ecfc. JttUag. 
THE PASSION. OLIVET. Jesus finds His apostles asleep. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself your Saviour thrice 
returning to the three Apostles whom He had left at a short 
distance, and each time finding them fast asleep. 

1. Reflect how our dear Redeemer in the garden seemed 
doomed to every species of abandonment, and to be shut out 
from all comfort. For He had singled out from the rest of His 
apostles the three who had most reason to be attached to His 
person, and who had shown themselves the most zealous on 
various occasions. And though He retired a short distance 
from them to pray alone, yet He seemed to wish to have them 
still near Himself. Judge then of His bitter disappointment, 
when, on returning to them He finds them sunk on the ground 
in deep slumber. Was this the fruit of His pathetic discourse 
but a few hours before ? Is this the only result of the con 
fident promises made by His disciples ? Is this James, one of 
the two, who had once desired fire to come down from heaven 
to consume those who would not receive his Master ? Is this 
John, who so shortly before had leaned his head upon His 
bosom ? Is this Peter, who had expressed himself ready to die 
with Him, and protested that he would never abandon so good 
a Lord ? Are these the three who were chosen to be the sole 
spectators of the glorious vision on Mount Tabor ; and was 
there not sufficient evidence and encouragement in that scene 
to support them through the gloomier hour which now awaits 
them 1 But divine Providence so disposed it, that, abandoned 
for a time to the weakness of their own nature, they should be 
overcome by heaviness, and so unable to give their Buffering 
Master the mite of consolation which their sympathy might 
have afforded Him. But if the first time He came to them, it 


was afflicting to Him to find them sleeping, how much more 
grievous was it on His second return ! For just before, on His 
first, He had lovingly reproved them for their unseasonable 
rest and drowsiness ; saying : " What, could ye not watch one 
hour with Me? Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into 
temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is 
weak." (Matt. xxvi. 40, 41.) What mild and gentle words 
on so trying an occasion ! After having remonstrated with 
them for their supiueness, He seeks Himself to excuse it, so as 
to save their love for Him from, all blame. He casts all the 
fault on their natural infirmity, not on any personal negligence. 
Oh, how gentle should we be in reproving others, and in 
excusing their seeming neglects, or their inattention to our 
wishes ! Three times did the meek Jesus suffer the same dis 
appointment, and each time with the same forgiving spirit. 
The second time He returned He said nothing to them ; the first 
reproach ought to have aroused them from their lethargy, but 
failing this, He retired in silence to prayer. And the third 
time, seeing their exceeding weariness, He would urge them no 
longer, but bade them sleep on. It is thus that He pardons 
our daily relapses, when He sees that we offend through 
frailty. In this manner He visits us again and again, in the 
hope of inciting us by His forgiving and patient conduct 
to greater watchfulness and care. But alas ! we sleep and 
slumber on, and forget our dangers ; till at last the hour of 
trial comes and takes us unawares. 

2. Reflect upon the practical lessons we may learn from this 
afflicting and humbling scene. The garden was to Christ and 
to His apostles a preparation for the respective parts they were 
to bear in the ensuing Passion. To Jesus, it was to be one of 
unmitigated suffering that would need an unshaken resigna 
tion. He prayed therefore earnestly for it ; He meditated on 
the fruits and consequences which were to ensue from His 
patient endurance ; and He obtained it, and went forth to His 
task armed and strengthened for every extreme, and ready to 
drink to its dregs the cup prepared for Him by His Father. 
The part of the apostles was one of trial and danger ; the 
shepherd was to be struck, and the natural consequence was 
that the sheep would be dispersed: they were to see their 


Master subject to every ignominy, and it was likely they 
would be scandalized in Him. Satan had desired to have them, 
that he might sift them as wheat ; and against all these 
dangers they had been shown the safeguard watchfulness and 
prayer. " Vigilate et orate, ne intretis in tentationem" The 
apostles neglected this preparation for the hour of trial ; Peter 
above all, whose boasting had been the loudest, and whose 
professions the strongest, and whose dangers had been pro 
nounced the greatest, neglected the admonitions of his master ; 
and when the hour of trial came, of course he failed, and that 
in a twofold manner. First, aroused on a sudden from his 
sleep by the tumultuous assault of Judas band, unprepared as 
to what he ought to do, unacquainted through his neglect with 
the spirit in which his divine Lord willed to meet His suffer 
ings, he unsheathes his weapon, rushes inconsiderately upon a 
much larger force, and strikes and grievously wounds one of the 
High Priest s servants. No doubt, such a deed of ineffectual 
violence was amply revenged by the ruffians upon the person of 
our dear Saviour, by an aggravation of their blows and insults ; 
so that the imprudence of the disciple seemed to add to the 
injury of his master. Secondly, after having made himself 
notorious and obnoxious by so active a partisanship, he pro 
ceeds to expose himself to the danger of a contest with men 
most interested in his disgrace. We are here in our state 
of preparation ; told now to watch and pray that we may pass 
safely through the trials that await us, in co-operating, in 
some sort, with Jesus in the work of saving mankind. And if 
we now neglect these duties, if we study not to imbibe the 
true spirit of our vocation, what can we expect but that, by 
our rashness, and want of meek and charitable bearing, we 
shall injure the cause of our Master, or by our ignorance and 
imprudence betray it ? 

3. Affections. " 0, adorable Jesus ! ever meek and kind, 
how wert Thou abandoned by all in Thine hour of trouble and 
darkness, without even the sympathy of a friend ? And yet, 
while at this moment I compassionate Thy distress, how often 
canst Thou address me in the same reproving words as Thou 
didst Thy sleeping disciples, Could you not watch one hour 
with Me V Alas ! to my shame and confusion I own it, often 


has an hour of prayer, an hour spent in Thy blessed company, 
seemed to me long and irksome ! How often have I shortened 
the already too short time allotted to this holy exercise ! 
Again and again, too, I have found it burdensome to fix my 
thoughts, for half that time, upon the meditation of Thy 
sufferings ; yea, of these very sufferings of Thine in the garden 
of Olives. Oh ! give me strength and grace often and often to 
spend a much longer space of time in this holy contemplation, 
and in watching beside Thee in Thy Passion. And let me, I 
pray Thee, ever be alive to the consequences of neglecting 
those diities during the season of preparation ; that so when 
the day of trial comes, I may be found ready, and not suffered 
to fall away." 

JFiftfjf ffifontij, jfirst S2eefe. Saturtrag. 
ON SIN AND REPENTANCE. On the Sting of Sin. 

1. Reflect how St. Paul in general terms understands by the 
sting of sin its punishment ; as when he tells us that " the 
sting of death is sin," " stimulus autem mortis peccaturn" This 
proposition of the Holy Apostle may also in some sense be 
taken conversely. For sin may be compared to a gaudy insect 
which, by its apparent beauty, tempts us to pursue it; but, 
when we have grasped it, gives us a painful and fatal wound, 
turning our childish eagerness and joy into grief. The sting 
thus driven into us is death, inasmuch as the consequences of 
our transgression are fatal, bringing death to the soul, and 
leaving it a loathsome and corpse-like thing in the eyes of God, 
and of His court above. This sting may be said likewise to be 
death, inasmuch as death is the climax or summit of all the 
miseries entailed upon us by sin ; so that in the mention of it 
alone may be said to be summed up and included all its other 
punishments. But more commonly by the sting of sin is 
understood that gnawing worm, that remorse which it engen 
ders in the heart, to eat into it for time and for eternity. 
Let us, for the present, consider the sting of sin during our 
earthly existence. Sin, then, is of the nature of a wound, which 


affects all the nobler faculties of man, and consequently those 
feelings that, under the name of conscience, repay, by satisfac 
tion or by pain, our good or evil actions. This affection is 
by a necessary law, so that it operates with certainty. As a 
deleterious drug received into the system is sure to cause 
nausea and pain, so must every sin admitted into the soul 
cause restlessness, grief, and even racking torment. As, by 
a perverse habit or by natural constitution, it may indeed 
happen that some can partake of poison without feeling those 
noxious effects, so likewise there may be some who are insen 
sible to the evil and natural consequences of transgression 
of the Divine law. But generally, such a state must be the 
result of a long course of iniquity, whereby the conscience 
has been seared as with a hot iron. Before arriving at 
this awful state of sealed perdition, a long course has to be 
run of anxieties, terrors, and remorse, which form a heavy 
set-off against the slight and passing gratifications of sin. 
Can we yet remember the first time, when we deliberately did 
violence to our conscience, and broke through some precept of 
God which we knew to be of serious obligation 1 When the 
sin had been fully perpetrated, how did we feel in our own 
hearts 1 How did we appear in our own eyes 1 Did we not 
feel degraded and shame-stricken, so that we could hardly 
believe ourselves the same persons that we were before 1 Was 
there not a strange perplexity, as though we could not believe 
it had been a reality that had happened, but fancied it must 
have been a dream 1 Did we not fear that others, as they 
looked upon us, must discover our guilt ; and did we not skulk 
from their presence, as Adam did from the face of God, after 
he had sinned 1 Did we dare to look up towards the firma 
ment, as though it were our future dwelling 1 Did we venture 
to think of the Saints and of the blessed Mother of Jesus as 
friends, and future companions 1 When the accustomed hour 
of prayer returned, to which before we had hastened with light 
and willing step, did we not feel a loathing and disrelish for 
it, and even a fear of addressing God 1 Did we not experience 
a timorous uneasiness on lying down to take our rest ] Did 
we not bitterly wish that we could undo what was too surely 
done, and be again as we had been before 1 Ah, this was the 


first infliction of the sting of sin ; it was the first, and therefore 
the most sensitive experience of remorse ; there was more of 
reproach and expostulation in it than of judgment and condem 
nation. Would to God it had cured us for ever ! 

2. Secondly, reflect how by degrees the heart of the sinner 
loses much of its sensitiveness and tenderness, and ceases to 
listen to the milder voice of conscience, and to obey the admo 
nition to repentance which it conveys. He begins to consider 
conscience an importunate and troublesome monitor that must 
be silenced, or at least despised. It changes then its character 
and form, it throws off its milder aspect, and arms itself with 
scorpions and with the sword ; stern, unrelenting, it becomes 
the executioner in part of the divine justice upon sin. It stands 
like the angel who met Balaam at the narrowest pass on his 
road ; it threatens summary vengeance. It knows well every 
advantage of time and place. Sometimes it shoots a pang 
through the heart, in the midst of gaiety and pleasure, which 
destroys it all. It shows a hand writing on the wall which 
none else can see, but which is too plain to be mistaken by him 
for whom it is written. It exhibits the sword suspended by a 
thread over the head of him who is sitting at the banquet. On 
other occasions it is more leisurely in its visitations : it allows 
the entire time of transgression to pass without a disturbing 
thought. But when the turmoil of pleasure is over, and the 
lonely hour is come, conscience resumes its sway. It recalls to 
mind hours better spent in former years, days of peace and 
unmolested happiness. It contrasts the wild excesses of the 
present, its broken precepts and violated principles, with the 
even tenor of a virtuous time, when morning returned with 
cheerfulness and evening with repose. Perhaps, like Samuel, 
whose venerable form arose before Saul when all his com 
panions in war had retired to rest, the respected memory of a 
father s admonitions, a mother s counsels, forgotten for years, 
returns to the mind, and claims a hearing. In vain are the 
eyes and ears closed against the intruder ; it sits still by the 
sinner s side. In vain other thoughts are sought for ; at every 
convenient turn these others will slip in, and in spite of all 
resistance will be heard. Years may pass over without this 
visitation ; and yet it shall return. The untimely death of a 


companion in guilt, a sudden attack of some dangerous sick 
ness, an interval of satiety and disgust, any of these may suffice 
to revive the worm that seemed long to have had no power 
over our hardened hearts, and give fresh impulse to its gnaw 
ing tooth. Then comes at last the bed of death ; the last and 
proper field for this worm of remorse, which there may riot at 
will, as freely as the mortal worm will shortly prey upon the 
heart of flesh. But this is a scene too full of lessons for our pre 
sent general view. Surely we have meditated enough to make 
us dread this more frightful mission of conscience, and listen to 
its gentler voice before it comes in the fire and the whirlwind. 
3. Resolutions. " If, then, this day ye hear its voice, which 
is the voice of God, harden not your hearts. As yet, when it 
is our misfortune to offend Him by sin, the regret which 
follows our transgression is such as invites us to repentance, 
and leaves us no rest, till, by the confession and pardon of our 
sin, we have recovered our peace. Let us not despise this 
warning voice whenever it is heard. Let us never accustom 
ourselves to bear with it, lest our ears become dull and our 
hearts hardened. No, dear and blessed Lord ! let such misery 
never be mine. Two of Thy apostles grievously offended Thee 
in Thy passion. On Peter who had cruelly denied Thee, Thou 
didst cast but one look of merciful reproof, and he lost no time 
in weeping bitterly. To Judas Thou didst address words of 
actual, though mild expostulation ; and he heeded them not, 
and died in his despair. Oh, let the visitations of my conscience 
be like the former, such as may in one instant move me to 
compunction, repentance, and perseverance in good. Let me 
ever consider them as a glance of Thy gracious eye, as a chiding 
of Thy love ; and let them never be succeeded by that dark and 
gloomy remorse which is the forerunner of despair. Make my 
conscience tender and delicate, that the slightest sting of sin, 
however small, may give it pain : and never allow me to be 
callous and insensible to Thy lightest admonitions." 


jfiftjj fHontfr, Swontt OTetfc. Suntag. 

the Saints. 

1. Reflect how good it has been of God to give us in the 
Saints, now rejoicing in heaven, models for our imitation. For 
the virtues which He requires of us are difficult to flesh and 
blood ; and the perfection to which He calls us is placed high 
above the reach of our natural notions and powers. It is only, 
then, by seeing how flesh and blood have been able to practise 
those virtues, and how men " in all things like to ourselves," 
and tempted like ourselves, even unto sin, have attained that 
perfection, that we can feel sufficiently encouraged to undertake 
the great work of our sanctification. For, in fact, the example 
of the Holy of Holies, Jesus our Lord, beautiful, encouraging, 
and magnificent as it is, keeps us in awe, from the immense 
and unattainable superiority which the union of the Godhead 
gave to Him, and the infinite worth it bestowed upon His 
least action. But the Saints who now reign with Him in 
heaven, were, as Elias is said to be by the apostle, mortal men, 
in all things resembling us, disturbed by the same passions, 
troubled by the same temptations of the flesh and the spirit, 
surrounded by the same perils ; sometimes caught in the same 
snares, and betrayed into the same frailties. And yet we see 
how they have been saved, exactly by the same means as are 
at our disposal ; by the same Sacraments that we frequent, the 
same prayers that we recite, the same ministry that we are 
called to, the same mortification that we may practise, the 
same charity, meekness, humility, and other virtues which are 
recommended to us. Thus we may take no little motive for 
encouragement to spur on our weakness, and even renew our 
sinking efforts. These cheering considerations we shall draw, 
as it were, collectively, when we contemplate the countless 
array of Saints now enthroned in heaven. For it is not a 
small picked band that stands before the face of the Lamb ; it 
is a vast multitude, which no man can number, from every 
country, of every time, of every age, sex, condition, of every 
possible variety of disposition and character ] so that no reason 


exists why we may not aspire to a part and share in their 
company. And, considering them in a body, it will not be 
difficult to discover the bright path whereby they reached their 
place of rest. " Sic itur ad astra " is written at the beginning 
of the way ; and the sight of so many who have successfully 
trodden it may give us an assurance of its safety. They all 
went upon the road of humility, of charity, and meekness. 
They all walked together in peace, forgiveness, and brotherly 
love. They all trod the beautiful path of ardent love for their 
God, and a longing desire to attain to Him. They all went 
along the narrow way ; they found it thorny, rugged, and 
steep j each of them was loaded with his particular cross, and 
saw at the head of the slow and sorrowful procession, Jesus 
staggering under the weight of His. They all moved forward, 
without turning back, without straggling from side to side, 
without loitering on the way, without stopping in quest of 
amusement. If the road was slippery and they fell, they 
instantly rose, and with new care resumed their march. If 
one of the many snares laid for them on the wayside, for a 
moment entangled their feet, they paused to tear themselves 
loose, then hastened on to regain lost time, and looked around 
them with greater circumspection. This is the way in which 
the just have walked ; lifting up their heads, with their eyes 
towards heaven. There is no other, and we must follow in 
their train. We must join their company, if we hope to reach 
the same journey s end. 

2. Reflect, how after having thus seen all the Saints col 
lectively as objects of our imitation, in those virtues which all 
must possess who desire to enter into the kingdom of heaven, 
we may single out of their bright ranks, some among them, 
to be more especially objects of our choice, in copying their 
excellences. For thus an artist, entering a splendid collection 
of paintings, will not content himself with admiring the general 
principles of art displayed in them all, but will soon fix his 
eyes upon a few, whose style he thinks would best suit himself, 
and diligently copy them, if haply so he may transfer to his 
own works some of their beauties. So must we, if we desire 
in our turn to find a place among these masterpieces of God s 
work. First we shall see, more in detail, how those were 


saved who belonged to our own class and vocation. We shall 
study and learn how those who gave themselves up to the 
ecclesiastical ministry were zealous lovers of men s souls, full 
of the spirit of Christian meekness and charity, unwearied in 
the conversion of sinners, in reclaiming such as are in error, in 
reproving vice, and in diffusing truth and virtue. We shall 
see how they who were preparing themselves for His ministry 
were docile and obedient, diligent and exact, chaste and 
humble, fond of prayer and study. We shall see those who at 
some part of their lives had offended God by sin, washing away 
their offences by tears of expiation for the rest of their lives, 
and mortifying their flesh to punish its former irregularities. 
We shall find such as have been called to the apostolic vocation 
ready for every trial and persecution, unsparing in toil, devoted 
to the holy cause of God and their neighbour. But if even so, 
any one think the model too general for his imitation, he may 
single out from the rich variety an individual Saint whose 
character and circumstances seem most closely to resemble his 
own ; and he may copy his minuter traits, to the perfect 
forming of himself. Is there any one amongst us, who for a 
time has cast away the yoke, and followed the bent of his 
irregular desires, and therefore fears he can never be fit for the 
ecclesiastical calling 1 He has an Augustine before him ; let 
him copy his repentance and consequent devotion to the cause 
of God. Is there one who, cheerful of disposition, yet desires 
to give himself up to the reformation of manners among men ? 
Let him follow the beautiful example of a Philip Neri, who 
himself reached heaven smiling, and brought many with him. 
Is one of us, gifted with small share of abilities, fearful lest he 
will be of little or no use in his ministry 1 Let him look at 
many models of pastors, great in sanctity, and in little besides ; 
and learn from them how a blessing may be brought, and a 
crown placed upon such inferior talents. Does any one love 
the way of penance 1 S. Thomas of Yillanuova will teach it 
him. Does another prefer a pleasanter path 1 S. Francis of 
Sales will lead him. So may each of us find a perfect and 
splendid model to copy, exactly suited to the style that will 
best become us. 

3, Affections. " Glorious Saints of God, behold me vour 


poor disciple and most willing scholar, ready to learn, at your 
feet, those lessons which you so admirably learnt from our 
common Master, Jesus. If the ancients fabled that all their 
foolish divinities agreed to bestow their peculiar qualities on 
one person, so that she should embody all perfection, let me 
in earnest truth receive from each of you a present of that 
peculiar excellence which made you beloved of God. Vener 
able patriarchs, teach me your confidence in God, and to walk 
ever before Him and be perfect. Mighty Prophets and mes 
sengers of the Lord, cast down your mantle upon me, and give 
me your spirit of readiness and might, to announce His com 
mands and will. 

Glorious Apostles of Jesus, friends of the bridegroom, obtain 
for me the grace of our common calling, and the blessing of 
being God s instrument in man s conversion. Triumphant 
martyrs, teach me your fortitude, and supreme love of your 
Saviour. Blessed confessors, instil into me your various 
virtues, your humility and penitential spirit. Chaste virgins, 
spouses of the Lamb, may I be pure and chaste. Oh, all ye 
Saints of God, make me an imitator of you, as you were 
of Christ ! Mary, Queen of all the Saints, be thou ever before 
mine eyes and heart, as the type and model, and the patroness 
of all the virtues which I long to acquire." 

Jtftfj fHontfj, Sccontr EEUcfc. 
LAST THINGS. JUDGMENT. On the Day of Judgment. 

1. Reflect on the name which this day bears in scripture ; 
"The day of the Lord." At the same time ponder on those 
words of Jesus in the garden, addressed to His captors ; " this 
is your hour, and the power of darkness." At present, it is 
the hour or time of men, when they despise the commands of 
God with apparent impunity ; when the Almighty seems in 
their hands, and they may do what they will with His pre 

This is the hour of men, when they insult Jesus in His 
passion, forgetting His sufferings and death, only repaying Him 


by outrage and ingratitude. This is the hour of men, when 
they defy to His face the Lord of glory, and presume to lay 
violent hands upon Him, as though he were weaker than 

But the day of judgment will be the day of the Lord ; of 
His vengeance and of His triumph. He who hath been so 
long insulted and neglected must surely have His turn, and 
repay His enemies according to their deserts. His power must 
not for ever be chained by His mercy, nor will He allow His 
right arm to be arrested by the excess of His goodness. 

Justice has its claims ; and they will be heard and satisfied. 
The Lord will now arise as a man of battle, " et tanquam potens 
crapulatus a vino." He will be as a lion in His wrath, and as 
a leopard in the path of the wicked. How shall His enemies 
tremble when they hear the sounds of His approach ! Well 
does the Scripture say : " Who shall be able to think of His 
coming ? and who shall stand to see Him 1 " (Mai. iii. 2). For 
under what terrible terms does our Saviour describe to us His 
approach on that Day 1 The sun shall be darkened, and the 
stars fall from heaven, like ripe fruit shed by a tree ; and the 
powers of heaven shall tremble : and famine, earthquakes, 
wars, and plagues, shall be the harbingers of these woes. Yet 
shall these be only the preparation for the real terrors of the 
last Day ! What then must that Day itself be 1 It is well 
described by the prophet Joel, when he tells us that " that the 
day of the Lord cometh, ... a day of darkness and of 
gloominess, a day of clouds and of whirlwinds " (ii. 1, 2). That 
is, a day of the tempest of God s wrath, sent forth against His 
enemies, when He shall ride over them in His car of thunders, 
and bruise them to pieces beneath its wheels. Their stubborn 
knees, their stiff" necks, that would never bend before Him, 
must now be crushed beneath His awful coming. Their hearts 
have been cold and obstinate against His loving invitations j 
and they shall now eat those very hearts through terror and 
dismay. They will find their day to have been short and 
deceitful ; they will now see that the Lord s day is sure, and in 
its consequences eternal ! They will discover the madness and 
frightful evil of sin, which has kindled such a flame as all the 
powers of earth and heaven cannot now quench. Oh, why do 


I not think of these things now ? Why do I not make the 
terrors of that Day correct my follies in this my day 1 

2. Reflect that this is not only the day of the Lord, but is 
distinguished, more particularly in the New Testament, as the 
"day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. i. 6) that is, as the day of His 
triumph. Therefore is it said to all that love Him, that, when 
they shall see the dreadful signs of it, they are to hold up their 
heads, for their salvation is at hand. He who has humbled 
Himself even unto death for us, will now be seen exalted above 
the clouds. He who came in all lowliness and meekness, riding 
upon an ass s colt, will now return in great power and majesty, 
borne upon the Cherubim. Will it not give us joy to see Him 
thus restored to His proper place, supreme over all created 
things 1 His humility and gentleness have been scoffed at by 
infidels ; His death and precious Blood have been despised and 
neglected by many who professed to believe in Him ; now the 
glorious mystery of redemption will appear in its true light, 
when opposed to the deep and gloomy shadows of the mystery 
of judgment. And if we, during our lives, have studied truly 
to comprehend and to value the more comfortable and sweeter 
mystery of the two, how shall we rejoice to find ourselves 
secured by it from the terrors of the other. But how many 
other obscurities in the dispensations of Divine Providence are 
now to be cleared up ! How delightful rather than merely 
profitable will all afflictions appear, which we have endured 
here below for the sake of Jesus ! How pleasant the remem 
brance of persecutions suffered for His truth and His name ! 
How sweet the thought of our patience under crosses and 
trials ! How will the dispensations of God s hand triumph ! 
how will His wisdom be displayed in the distribution of worldly 
prosperity and adversity between the good and the wicked ! 
Who will now care for having been rich, or fortunate, or cele 
brated a king or a hero *? But how many will wish they had 
been none of these things, and how many will bless and thank 
God that they were not ? Oh, what a triumph will that day 
be for our God and Saviour ! And shall we not now so order 
our lives that we may partake of it with Him 1 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " Behold, my God, besides 
Thy terrible day, the day or hour of Thy enemies, there is 

2 A 


another day, my day, the present day. For when Thy beloved 
Son drew nigh to Jerusalem, and wept over it, He said, If 
thou hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are 
for thy peace (Luke xix. 42). This our day is a day of mercy 
and forgiveness on Thy part, and on ours a day of repentance 
and entreaty ; and for us both a day of reconciliation and peace. 
Let me then this day avert Thy judgments, that when Thou 
comest to judge the world by fire, I may not be condemned. 
Dear and blessed Jesus, is it possible that I should ever allow 
myself to do anything that can change Thee from what I have 
ever found and known Thee, into a terrible and unrelenting 
Judge 1 Miserable indeed I must be to act so wickedly towards 
Thee and towards myself! But no. I resolve to be among 
those to whom Thy day will be a day of triumph and exulta 
tion ; to see Thee come for their reward, and the public indica 
tion of the love they have borne Thee, and the hope they have 
placed in Thee. Judge me now in Thy mercy, that Thou 
may est forgive me, while I yet have time ; and save me from 
the terrors of Thy day." 

JFiftfj fHontfj, 

DUTIES TOWARDS EQUALS. On Works of Mercy Spiritual 
[Compared with Corporal.] 

1. Reflect how the high praise bestowed upon the doers of 
corporal acts of charity, and the splendid rewards promised 
them, mast belong with much greater reason to the perform 
ance of works directed to relieve the spiritual necessities of 
men. For the soul of man is so much more precious in the 
sight of God than his body, that there can be no proportion 
between the value He sets on what is done for the two. The 
body is perishable, doomed to lie in the dust; the soul im 
mortal, and created for heaven. If then the body, untended 
and unfed, die a few years before its time, it has at least 
reached its natural destination ; but if the soul, for lack of 
counsel, of instruction, or support, go to ruin, it is lost for 
ever, and in opposition to the object for which it was created. 


The body is but the servant, and follows in its good or evil lot 
the portion of the soul : it is secondary in importance. How 
much more charitable, then, must it be to assist, to preserve, 
and save the souls of men ! How much more meritorious, how 
sublime must that branch of divine charity be, which directs 
its attention to our neighbours in their nobler and spiritual 
portion ! And if our blessed Saviour seemed rather to single 
out, as the grounds of His sentence on the day of doom, the 
performance or neglect of the corporal works of mercy, this 
may in some sort enhance the value of the spiritual ; for the 
kindness and mercy of God would never fix the standard 
of salvation at so high a point that few would be able to reach 
it } but rather at so low a rate as may be within the compass 
of each one. For, had he said, " Begone from Me, ye accursed ; 
for I was ignorant, and ye instructed Me not, perplexed, and 
ye solved not My doubts, afflicted in spirit, and ye gave Me no 
consolation ;" how many, instead of answering, " When did WQ 
see Thee in this state and ministered not unto Thee," might 
have rather been supposed to reply, " Lord, how could I, 
unlettered, ignorant, and without power of speech, give Thee 
such assistance as this, placed as it is beyond my power 1 " For 
these nobler and higher works are not within the scope of all 
men ; but of those to whom God hath given abilities, oppor 
tunity, will, right, and vocation to devote themselves to the 
performance of them. Happy are they, if they properly avail 
themselves of these means ; unhappy, or at best most foolish, 
if they neglect them ! For, in fact, to consider the resemblance 
between the two, and so establish the superiority of the one ; 
if it be so glorious a thing to feed the hungry with the meat 
that perisheth, what must it be to feed the soul with the true 
bread that came down from heaven, by bringing it to faith in 
God s mysteries ? If a reward is promised to every one who 
gives a cup of cold water to a disciple, what shall we not 
expect if we bring the thirsty soul to the fountains of life 
eternal, refreshing it with the waters of divine knowledge ? If 
to cover the naked be a great work of charity, what must it be 
to clothe the soul of a sinner with saving grace ? If to visit in 
prison and sickness be so praiseworthy, what will be the praise 
of those who draw forth others from the bondage of the 

2 A 2 


passions, or cure them of the malady of sin 1 If to harbour 
the houseless be a noble act of fraternal charity, what shall we 
say of bringing into the house of God, which is His church, 
such as have strayed from it, or have never dwelt beneath its 

2. Reflect how peculiarly this sublime department of charity 
is ours, who, after the example of Christ and His apostles, have 
to dedicate ourselves to the salvation of men. For we see how 
Jesus ever made the corporal acts of charity performed by 
Himself subservient to the spiritual. When He was asked to 
heal the man sick of the palsy, He began by telling him that 
his sins were forgiven him. On other occasions He enjoined 
those whom He healed to sin no more. He brought the 
infirm man whom He cured at the pool of Bethesda, and the 
blind man whose sight He restored, to acknowledge His 
divinity. And so should it ever be with us in practice ; 
whatever charity we perform to the outward man should still 
contemplate the good of his soul : and we should ever study to 
draw from the influence we thus acquire the means of remedy 
ing their spiritual ills, and bestowing upon them eternal goods. 
The Apostles clearly showed the higher esteem in Avhich they 
held these nobler deeds of mercy and charity, when, finding 
attention to one incompatible with the other, they decided 
upon reserving to themselves the spiritual. They said : " It is 
not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve 
tables" (Acts vi. 2), whereupon they appointed deacons to 
attend to the widows and others who were in distress. And 
so may we commit to the care or co-operation of others the 
charity which regards the body, employing zealous and chari 
table laymen to watch over the interests of the poor with and 
on behalf of ourselves. But in the spiritual ministrations of 
charity in instructing the ignorant, comforting the afflicted, 
convincing the misguided, reproving sinners, winning and 
keeping for God the souls of our brethren committed to our 
charge let us be jealous to do all we can ourselves. Let us 
treasure up every mite of the precious merit which it gives, as 
too valuable to be lost. There is, indeed, sufficient work for 
many ; and let us not fear to be thought selfish if we seize for 
ourselves as much as we can sustain. But what shall we say 


of the glorious calling to which we have been destined ] We 
have, not a certain number of persons, on whom to exercise these 
noblest and most meritorious offices of charity, but an entire 
people, a nation, and that one so dear to us. We have been 
chosen by the Most High to be the physician of the house of 
Israel, to bind up the wounds of the children of our people. 
We are sent to preach remission to the captives of our land, to 
break the bread of life to its little ones, to be messengers of 
peace, and safe return to our erring countrymen, consolers of 
our afflicted race. We have to exercise the spiritual mercies 
and charities upon a large people, striving, besides our exertions 
for individuals, to be a light to its eyes, and feet to its lame 
ness, and be called the repairers of its ruins. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " Never, O my God ! let me 
forget these duties, so dear to Thy Heart, and so profitable to 
my soul. Let me love especially the souls of my neighbours, 
and let my charity ever aim at relieving and supporting that, 
their noblest and most precious part. I long for that brightness, 
equal to the stars, which Thy prophet has assured us will 
crown those who instruct many into justice. I wish to 
reach Thee, having won Thy love, by the brightest path, by 
the noblest exercise of Thy cherished virtue of charity, by co 
operating with Thy dear Son in the salvation of men. But 
let me never forget to whom Thou wouldst have me principally 
to consecrate my humble services ; that it is not to one man, 
or to a few, that Thou dost will me to devote my time and 
strength, but to the enlightening, instructing, and comforting 
an entire nation ; and so let my exertions be proportioned to 
the magnitude of the work. Let me ever so study and pray, 
so meditate and labour, as to qualify myself for this great duty. 
Pill my heart with a burning and most active flame of charity, 
which may suffice not only for myself, but for setting on fire 
the hearts of many. 


JFtftfj fHontfj, ^ecanti 8ktL 8fcfcmj&ig. 

of the Apostles. 

Preparation. Represent to yourself our Blessed Saviour 
calling Peter and the sons of Zebedee, by inviting them to 
follow Him. 

1. Reflect- how commanding must that call have been, which 
produced such instant and such decisive effects upon the 
hearts of men. What a dignity there must have been in the 
mien of our Redeemer, what a divine grace in His eyes 
and countenance, what an irresistible sweetness and power in 
His speech, that young men, and men in the prime of life, 
should have unhesitatingly left home, parents, and all their 
worldly substance, to follow Him upon His simple invitation. 
We read of five of His Apostles who were thus called ; and it 
is probable that several more, if not all, were brought to Him 
in the same manner. Of these five, not one asks Him how 
far, or whither, shall I follow Thee? or, how long am I to 
follow Thee 1 or, what shall be my reward ? or, how shall I 
live if I do so 1 or, what will become of my aged father, or my 
house, if I abandon them for Thee 1 No ; in that look which 
He cast upon them there was assurance, and sufficient pledge 
that they could not be wrong in accepting His invitation. 
They understood at once that in following Jesus they were 
following Truth and Life ; and that whithersoever He might 
be pleased to lead them, they might follow safely. There were 
among them those who already knew, from the testimony of 
John, who Jesus was, and who, therefore, were well disposed, 
by previous instruction, for understanding the authority of 
this vocation. But of Matthew, for instance, we have no 
reason to suppose that any other occurrence had prepared him 
for this grace. Jesus has cast upon us also the same inviting 
look, and has addressed to us similar words of call. Perhaps 
some of us were trained from infancy in preparation for His 
sacred ministry; and had been well instructed to know Him, 
to love and obey Him, before the authoritative mandate 
reached us. To some, perhaps, it has come more unawares, 


taking our hearts by strong hand, and, while we little expected 
it, leading us almost in spite of ourselves into His blessed 
company and the number of His Apostles. And let me ask 
myself, whichever course He took with me, has it not mani 
festly been a call at once of mercy and of power ? What should 
I have been had He not, by that heavenly vocation, taken me 
away from the midst of the world, and called me into the 
number of His ministers ? Perhaps, with Matthew. I should 
have been for all my days sitting to calculate my gain?, or to 
brood over thoughts about the Mammon of this world, and to 
converse with its servants. Perhaps, like the sons of Zebedee, 
involved in some perilous pursuit, exposing me to dangers of 
body or of soul. But the goodness of my Saviour looked upon 
me in a moment of grace, and bade me renounce all these, and 
find my portion, my inheritance, and my joy in Him alone. 
Blessed for ever be this His special kindness to me ! Have I 
embraced His call with that alacrity of spirit which the 
Apostles showed 1 Have I been as ready to break every 
attachment 1 ? Or has not some lingering affection yet held me to 
the nets and toils of this deceitful world, or the gains of its 
unprofitable riches 1 

2. Reflect how much more than met the ear was implied in 
that brief invitation, " Follow Me." For it at once called for 
an unconditional surrender, unlimited by time, place, or any 
other consideration. Nor is it probable or even possible that 
the Apostles, when they heard and obeyed it, should have com 
prehended the extent of its claims. Perhaps they thought it 
was only to His home that Jesus wished them, for the present, 
to go, or to be the companions of His steps for a time ; and in 
part this was true, for He allowed such as were fishermen to 
resume their occupation for awhile. But perhaps some of them, 
as those sons whose mother asked for them a place at His right 
and left hand in His kingdom, imagined that Jesus, the Messias, 
called them to exchange their nets for splendid preferments at 
His side, and were willing to suffer privations for a time, in 
reserve for so glorious a reward. Certainly, not one of them 
understood that the words signified, " Follow Me to poverty 
more abject than that which you at present suffer; to obloquy, 
calumny, and unjust accusations. Follow Me to persecution, 


and the bitter hatred of men. Follow Me to buffets, to stripes, 
to prison, and to death. One of you shall be crucified, another 
plunged into boiling oil, a third flayed alive, a fourth sawn in 
twain ; and so shall ye all follow Me unto death, painful at 
once and ignominious ! " Had He revealed to them this import 
of the words He used, would they not have shrunk back in 
terror, and declined the high honour of the Apostleship which 
was to be so dearly purchased ? But their kind Master did not 
at once open to them the full extent of the obligation His call 
imposed, leaving its more fearful consequences to be gradually 
developed by His discourses and example ; when their love 
for Him should have grown too strong to allow hunger and 
nakedness, or death, or things present, or things to come, to 
separate them from Him. And thus, in truth, He acts with 
us. He calls upon us unconditionally to follow Him, and is 
at first content with the unreserved offering of our hearts. 
Time will reveal to us the full extent of His counsels regarding 
us, whether for life or for death, for the comfortable discharge 
of our ministry, or for calumny and persecution in reward of 
our zeal. Let us not, then, pry too curiously into our future lot, 
but cast it from this moment into the bosom of our God ; let 
us be as clay in His Hand, to be moulded as He will into 
vessels of honour or of mere utility in His house ; let us 
desire no more than to be ready to follow Him whithersoever 
He pleases, saying to Him, with His Apostles, " Domine, et in 
carcerem et ad mortem paratus sum tecum ire." 

3. Affections. " Yes, dear Jesus, do Thou but lead, and I Thy 
servant will follow. Be it to the light of Thy glorious day, to 
see Thee once more honoured and loved, as Thou oughtest to 
be, in my dear country, or be it to painful scenes of conflict 
and danger; be it to joy and consolation in a blessed and 
crowned ministry, or to a dark course of tribulation, dis 
appointment, and sorrow; still, while Thou, my Jesus, dost 
lead the way, I will fearlessly follow Thee on the path. I have 
little to renounce. Thy disciples renounced all ; they could do 
no more. Thou dost call upon me for no such sacrifice, but 
there is another which Thou exactest, and which with a willing 
heart I make Thee. I renounce from this moment all desires 
or thoughts of earthly rewards, or sensible pleasures in Thy 


service ; I desire to be Thy disciple, yea, Thy apostle, with the 
loss, if Thou so require it, of all that makes life easy and 
pleasant of all that human nature craves for, even within the 
limits of sinless desires. I am willing to serve Thee, without 
friends, without sympathy, without comfort, without rest, 
without riches, without fame or reputation. I renounce 
all these things, the moment they shall become a hindrance 
to me, in obeying Thy gracious call that I should follow 

jFiftjj fHontfj, Swonto lcck. f)urstoag. 

1. Reflect how, if the murder of the body be so horrible a 
crime in the eyes of men, the murder of a soul must be infinitely 
greater in the eyes of God. The body, at best, is created frail 
and perishable : there is no violation of the law of its nature 
when it dies ; and it is only a point of time and circumstances 
if it be destroyed by violence somewhat before the end of its 
natural course. But the soul of man is created immortal, and 
not intended at all to die. Its final end is eternal happiness 
with God. Its life is His grace and favour, deprived of which 
it is deprived of all hope of attaining its final purpose. If, 
then, the loss of this favour constitute the death of the soul, 
the destruction or deprivation of it must constitute its murder. 
By how much, therefore, the soul is in the eyes of God more 
precious than the body, by so much more heinous must its 
murder be. We can imagine the feelings of a murderer 
when he stands alone over his victim, after having seen him 
sob out Ms last breath with the blood he has shed. How his 
heart must be wrung with despair as he sees the features be 
come blanched and set, and the limbs motionless and stiffen ! 
What would he not give to restore life to that corpse ? unless, 
indeed, his hatred was of the most deadly character. How he 
would almost wish that he could infuse his own life into it, 
pour half his own blood into its veins, and breathe his own 
breath into its nostrils ! He feels like Cain, and fancies that 


earth may open and swallow him up. Hence does it so often 
happen that this crime is followed by the self-murder of the 
assassin. What, then, ought to be the feelings of one who has 
inflicted a deadly wound on the soul of his neighbour, and 
plunged it at once into the abyss of perdition 1 Oh ! it is 
unfortunate for us that the object of such a crime is concealed 
from our view ; for, dreadful as the sight would be, it would, 
if once seen, effectually save us from committing an act so ter 
rible. To see a soul, fair and innocent as the loveliest child, 
smiling in grace and the favour of God ; then while our words 
of deceit and seduction are poured into its ears, or our evil 
example placed before its eyes, writhing in a mortal struggle 
between death and life that is, between duty and temptation, 
even as though strangled and stifled by our hands, and agitated 
convulsively beneath our gripe ; then, as it yielded to our evil 
persuasions, to see it drop a livid corpse from our hands, every 
feature hideously distorted ; to see it blackened and shrivelled, 
its beauty utterly destroyed ; to see the angels shrink from it, 
as though its infection tainted the air ; and the evil spirits like 
vultures surrounding it, ready for a word to pounce upon it 
and bear it to their horrible abode j and to feel all this work of 
hateful devastation, this frightful change, to be the work of 
one s own hands ! This must be a sight, could it be witnessed, 
unutterably fearful, but permanent and efficacious as a warning. 
Yet how faint a representation is this of the havoc committed 
upon a soul by one who leads it into sin ! 

2. Reflect now, how much more terrible and harrowing this 
imaginary spectacle would be, were the object of the ruin some 
one particularly dear to us. Suppose the murderer we have 
imagined to be one who in a moment of passion had stabbed his 
dear friend ; or that the scene we have represented to ourselves 
had been of a father, who, under a passing frenizy, had strangled 
his own child : how much more horrible does the idea become, 
how much more rending must be the remorse excited by it 1 
Now, in the commission of such spiritual murder this is un 
happily too often the case ; it is inflicted by those who stand 
most closely to one another in relations of love, and who have 
the strongest mutual obligations. We seldom draw a stranger, 
much less an adversary, or one that disKkes us, into sin. But 


it is the companion and the friend who is in most cases drawn 
aside from virtue by the force of evil example, or the influence 
of loose conversation. It is the superior entrusted with the 
souls of his disciples, the priest who has to render to God an. 
account of his flock s salvation ; these are, alas ! so often the 
cause of their ruin ! It is the parent, who by a love of 
dissipation, or neglect of duty, sows the seeds of vice or irre- 
ligion in his child. For let us not deceive ourselves. Not 
merely by some overt act, or persuasion, or enticing to sin, may 
we destroy a soul, as one would the body by driving a knife 
into the heart. No ; we may poison it by the most subtle 
processes by simply instilling into it one false maxim, which, 
like a drop of venom in the veins, first seems to produce only a 
local and temporal derangement, but is gradually taken up 
into the system, and spreads throughout the frame, and so 
ends in destroying life. Nay, the infection which may cause 
this fatal result may be but breathed, so to speak, upon the 
soul ; it may be a glance of the eye, or a casual word, that may 
destroy it for ever. And how dreadful, again, to think that by 
neglect we may be the cause of a soul miserably perishing ! 
As we should be guilty of murder if any one confided to our 
care died from want of nourishment, medicine, or anything 
which it was our duty to provide him with, so shall we surely 
be called upon to answer before God for the spiritual death of 
any one who falls into perdition for want of that sustenance 
which it was our duty to give him : the Sacraments, instruction, 
reproof, or advice. Do we not stand aghast at seeing how easy 
it may be for us to incur this most dreadful of evils ? and, 
while we shudder at the bare possibility of our causing death 
even accidentally in our neighbour, do we not tremble at the 
many risks we heedlessly run of inflicting a deadly wound 
upon his nobler and better part 1 In conclusion, let us reflect 
with solemn earnestness upon the indignation which the Son of 
God must feel, and will one day express against us, should we 
have so ruthlessly trampled on His Blood as to cause one soul 
to perish which He has died to redeem. What a co-operation 
with demons in counteracting the work that cost Him so 
dear ! How truly should we have been taking part with His 
enemies ! Surely, one dead soul round the neck of a Christian, 


still more of a priest, must be sufficient to weigh him down 
into the depths of eternal woe. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " 0, my crucified Saviour ! 
save me from so black a guilt and from so heavy a doom. 
Libera me de sanguinibus Deus, Deus salutis mece. Keep me 
from this foulest of murders this crime the most directly aimed 
at Thy Heart and sweetest character of Saviour. If there be 
upon this earth a single soul to which I have been the author 
or remote cause of sin, f snatch it, I entreat Thee, from the 
jaws of perdition ; bless it with Thy choicest gifts and graces, 
and make it, even at any loss in myself (short of Thee), most 
virtuous and holy. And let me from this day forward strive 
to edify all around me, and particularly all that shall be com 
mitted to my charge ; keeping them from every danger, and 
rather studying how to give them life, and give it them more 
abundantly, than how to avoid those offences which can cause 
their death." 

jHftlj fHontlj, .SccontJ 

THE PASSION THE TRIBUNALS. Jesus is condemned to death. 
His treatment during the night. 

Preparation. Imagine to yourself your divine Redeemer 
standing meekly amidst the priests and their servants, exposed 
to their insults. 

1. Reflect upon the solemn adjuration in the Name of the 
living God, which the wicked high priest addressed to our 
Blessed Lord ; for it bespeaks his unwilling testimony to the 
character of Jesus. Had he believed Him to be such as he 
affected to consider Him, he would have known that such an 
address would have been quite useless. For had the meek 
silence of Jesus proceeded from fear, or had He been the 
culprit they affected to suppose, He would not, they well 
knew, be entrapped by this question, proceeding probably 
from hypocrisy and pretended zeal, and tending to ensnare the 
life of the accused. But the high priest knew well that Jesus 
feared not to avow who He declared Himself to be ; he knew, 


too, that the name of God would have a power with Him 
which all the artful questions and lying witness of His 
enemies never would. Therefore, baffled in every attempt 
through these, yet determined to find Him guilty even by 
means of such noble and holy feelings, he put to Him the 
solemn question : " Acljuro te per Deum vivum, die nobis si tu 
es Christus, filius Dei vivi ?" Jesus would not deny His true 
character in the face of danger, and avowed Himself, answer 
ing ; " Thou hast said it." Whereupon they all exclaimed, 
" Eeus est mortis. " Reflect deeply upon the meaning of these 
words, which imply nothing less than the condemnation to 
death of the Lord of life. The very breath which spoke so 
impious a decree was simply His gift ; and all who uttered 
that sentence depended upon His goodwill for their 
very existence. But in truth this parricidal sentence was 
a condemnation of death to themselves. They pronounced 
thereby the warrant of their own destruction, and the exter 
mination of their own people. Blind, impious, and yet most 
impotent men ! Tools of your own wicked passions, yet un 
conscious instruments in the hands of a gracious and saving 
Providence, which, from the bitter root of your perversity and 
malice, would cause to spring forth the sweet fruit of salvation. 
So did the Blessed Jesus overlook your impotent malignity, 
and in that hour raise up His eyes to the throne of His Father 
in heaven, and view the cause of mankind canvassed in His 
eternal councils, the sins of men numbered and weighed in His 
balances, and found beyond number or reckoning. He sees ex 
piation demanded from Himself, who had offered to be the 
victim for them ; and He heard the same sentence which is 
now blasphemously pronounced upon earth, most righteously 
uttered in heaven. And the meek Lamb of God bowed down 
His Head in humble resignation, saying, "Thou art just, O 
Father ! and all thy ways are right/ But now contemplate 
the scene which ensues. For upon the sentence being pro 
nounced, His passion of outward suffering may be said to have 
begun. For the fury of the enraged multitude is now let loose 
upon Him uncontrolled; encouraged by the applause, the 
laughter, and the jeers of their superiors, who show their 
approval of each new insult and outrage upon His sacred 


person. Behold, then, your Saviour, whom your soul ten 
derly loves, not only blasphemed and grossly insulted by 
impious language, but actually struck with the hand, plucked 
by the hair and beard, and His sacred countenance spit upon ! 
These are indignities which, if we saw committed against the 
vilest criminal, we should resent as brutal and most inhuman. 
Nor is there a man who would, in worldly language, be able to 
hold up his head, if once publicly assailed by any one of them. 
Yet the Blessed Jesus not only descended from the royal line, 
but by true right King of Israel, yea God of Israel submits 
in silence and imperturbable patience to this accumulated 
outrage ! Oh, what a lesson for me, whose pride boils under 
the slightest insult, whose resentment is roused by the smallest 
affront ! Shame to me to call myself a follower of Jesus, and 
to be so little like Him ! 

2. Reflect now upon this distressing scene under a new 
light. Imagine all its actors changed except one, and that one 
the Person of your Blessed Redeemer. In place of the others, 
imagine that you see those real causers of His sufferings, your 
own passions and sins. Yes ; it was not so much the high priest 
of the Jews that sat upon the seat of judgment whence the 
sentence issued ; it was the proud corruption of my heart. 
Dressed out, indeed, in sacerdotal robes ; assuming the title of 
a dedication to God, yet full of pride, hypocrisy, and deceit, 
it has presumptuously dared to question and canvass the titles 
which Jesus has to my love and service. It has rejected His 
claim to be sole King of my soul and heart, Lord of all my 
powers, Master of my every act ; and has listened to the many 
false, witnesses which its corruption has again and again 
suborned to put aside His claims. And when, in fact, I have 
on some dreadful occasion condemned Him within myself, it 
was with the unanimous consent of every bad passion, echoing 
back the sentence to put Jesus aside to crucify Him again by 
sin. Yes, such were the real assessors of this infamous 
Sanhedrin : these were the haughty Pharisees, the vain 
Scribes, the unbelieving Sadducees, that broke forth into that 
horrible sentence against Jesus, and, as far as their malice could 
go, sentenced Him to death. Then it was that the fury of my 
evil inclinations, freed from all check, broke forth upon Him, 


insulted and impiously outraged Him. Oh ! how did my pre 
sumptuous folly suppose it could hoodwink those eyes that are 
brighter than the sun, to offend Him with impunity 1 How did 
those repeated transgressions of His law, in word, and thought, 
and deed, strike Him on the face ! How did those uncharitable 
words against my neighbours, members of His mystical Body, 
pluck His venerable hair ! How did that disrespect for His 
sanctuary, my cold indifference to His sacraments, my con 
tempt or abuse of His graces, spit in His very face, and insult 
Him most outrageously ! How did my vanity and levity, my 
lusts and evil desires, buffet and contemn Him ! Ah ! such is 
the true account of this fearful scene ; and the real executioner 
of my dear Jesus was this self of mine ! Thus have I treated 
Him every time I have sinned ; and it was the accumulation 
of such treatments, by myself and others, that caused, and out 
wardly rehearsed, the afflicting spectacle of that His last 
night in mortal state ! 

3. Affections. " I know not, my loving Redeemer, with 
what feelings I best can contemplate this portion of Thy most 
sorrowful passion. Shall it be with indignation against those 
who were guilty of such barbarity ? Or with admiration of Thy 
divine conduct, Thy patience and meekness? Shall I con 
template Thy goodness towards me, or my unworthy conduct 
towards Thee 1 Rather will I adore in silence this marvellous 
mystery of Thee, my incarnate God, suffering for my sake. I 
will try to blend my other feelings into one of unquali6ed, 
grateful love. I will love Thee, my God, all the more because 
Thou didst submit to be condemned for my sake to an igno 
minious death. The more Thou art defaced by blows or 
spittle, the comelier art Thou to me, and the more desired by 
my heart. And forasmuch as my sins have been the cause of 
such atrocities committed on Thy sacred Person, I will love 
Thee still the more ; that my affection may be as some drops 
of balm in the grievous wounds I have inflicted upon Thee. 
In opposition to the impious sentence pronounced upon Thee, 
I will cry out, with all the loving ones who have thus gained 
their sentence of pardon : " Live, dear Jesus, live ! and that 
in my heart." 


Jiftfj fHontfj, Seconfc Wwfc. Saturtog. 
THE BLESSED VIRGIN. Her Influence with her Son. 

1. Reflect how the influence which the Saints have with God 
must be proportionate to the manner wherein they served Him 
here below. Our Blessed Saviour represents to us the reward 
bestowed upon them, as so estimated, when He compares Him 
self to a nobleman who, going to a far country, gives to each of 
his servants a sum of money wherewith to trade on his account. 
To the one who had made a tenfold profit, he gave charge over 
ten cities ; and to him who gained fivefold, over five cities 
(Luke xix. 17, 19). Each, therefore, is preferred to a post of 
dignity and trust in proportion to the fruits of holiness he 
produces from the graces which God bestows upon him. 
What then must be the post of Mary ! how high, and how 
influential ! Mary, who brought forth fruits of sublimest 
virtue, not fivefold, not tenfold, nor an hundred, nor a thousand 
fold, but beyond all calculation, being full of all grace, and 
being the most perfect of all pure human beings ! And if we 
understand the parable more literally, as signifying the charge 
or deputation granted by God to His saints over men, and their 
proportion of influence for guiding men in good, surely Mary s 
will not be over ten cities, or ten provinces, or ten kingdoms, 
but over all the earth ; sole proportion to the greatness of her 
merits and. favour with Him who giveth the earth to His Saints. 

Moreover, the influence which the Saints have with God is 
in proportion to the intensity of their love for Him. Thus, 
when Peter would ascertain who was the traitor among the 
twelve, he feared to put the question himself, and therefore 
desired John, who, from the greater tokens of love between him 
and Jesus, might be supposed to possess a stronger influence 
with Him ; and it was he who put the painful question. 
Again, when some strangers would see Jesus, they applied to 
Philip ; he in turn spoke to Andrew, one of the more favoured 
Apostles ; and so together they addressed Jesus (Jo. xii. 22). If, 
then, the mutual love between Jesus and His Saints give the 
measure of their influence with him, what measure shall we 
allot to the influence of the Blessed Yirgin, whose love for Him 


we have seen was so far, so incomparably superior to that of 
the highest Saints 1 No standard, drawn from the love for 
Him of other created beings on earth or in heaven, can give an 
adequate estimate of her affection, whether as His mother or 
(higher still) as " hearing the word of God, and keeping it." So, 
no proportion can be framed between their influence with Him 
and that which she is entitled and allowed to exert. Again, 
the influence of the saints with Jesus may be calculated by 
what they have suffered for His sake. Thus, the prayers of 
martyrs of old were so eagerly sought, at risk even of life, by 
the Christians, especially by those who had fallen into sin. 
Indeed, this being the test of the greatest love that one man 
can have for another, to lay down his life for him, it was only 
another form of the standard of divine love just meditated on. 
Now Mary, the Queen of the Martyrs, suffered the bitterest 
grief that any heart, except that of her dear Son, ever endured, 
on His account ; she more intimately shared with Him the 
sorrows of His Passion than any other human being. For, 
passing over all the sufferings of the earlier scenes of His life, 
nay, the life-long anticipation in her heart of all that was to 
come upon Him, and therefore upon her, it is certain that in 
the last day of His sacred life she followed His sufferings not 
only step by step, but stroke by stroke and pang by pang. His 
hands, His feet, His head, His sacred shoulders, received no 
stroke, no wound, without a corresponding one being given to 
her heart. And every act that tended to hasten His death, 
tended with equal certainty to hasten her irreparable loss of the 
richest treasure ever possessed by created soul. Hence, any 
death would have been to her a less grievous evil, than what 
she underwent in that dolorous life, and living still. If her 
influence with Jesus is to be proportioned to what she here 
suffered for and with Him, what bounds can we ever set to it ? 
2. Reflect upon the immense influence which the maternal 
rights of Mary give her upon her dutiful and loving Son. He 
spontaneously placed Himself under her fostering care from 
childhood, nor did He allow His infinite superiority, and incom 
prehensible dignity as God, to diminish His dependence upon 
her, and consequently her direction of Him. For though He 
might have lived as the angel who guided Tobias, upon an 

2 B 


invisible food, He chose to receive His daily nourishment at 
her breast ; and to be borne in her arms, while with His hands 
He balanced the universe. He went whithersoever she 
carried Him ; He partook of whatsoever she gave Him j He 
came whensoever she called Him ; He occupied Himself with 
whatever would please her. He was in every respect a child 
with her, and she was never anything else to Him than a most 
tender and loving Mother. Only once, He seemed to break 
through that close filial attendance on her which He practised ; 
when He remained in Jerusalem, at twelve years of age, to 
fulfil a commission of deep mystery for His Father, which 
might not be communicated to any one. But, lest we might 
be tempted from this especial event to suppose that Jesus had 
cast off at so early an age all subjection to His parents, the 
Gospel is most careful to inform us, immediately after the 
account of it, how, " He went down with them, and came to 
Nazareth, and was subject to them " (Luke ii. 51). The word of 
God implies that this was but a mysterious exception, not a 
termination to His voluntary submission and obedience to 
Mary and Joseph. Under her tutelage then He lived beyond 
the ordinary age, even till He was thirty years old. His first 
miracle was performed at her request, though His time was 
not yet come. So, too, nearly His last words were an acknow 
ledgment of her as His Mother, when He bequeathed us to 
her as her children. What influence through life can be 
imagined greater than that of Mary, who was allowed to hold 
and to exercise over Jesus a parental authority ? And will He 
refuse, now that He is in His glory, to acknowledge her as 
still His Mother, the Body formed in whose womb He still has 
united to His divinity 1 Must He not still call her by the 
title of parent ? and must not she still address Him by those 
powerful words : " My Son ?" With such a preface to her 
petition, is there anything too great for her to ask, or for Him 
to grant 1 

3. Affections. " Dearest Mother, not only of Jesus but of 
me, with thee to intercede for me I can fear no repulse. If I 
can only secure thy favour and thy patronage, I am sure that 
whatever thou wilt petition in my behalf, thy loving Son will 
grant thee. Ah ! what I want is much indeed ; for it com- 


prises every tiling. There are sins without number to be 
expiated, passions to be subdued, evil inclinations to be rooted 
out, temptations to be avoided or conquered. There are 
virtues to be acquired from their very rudiments : humility, 
meekness, love of poverty and of the cross, mortification, and 
penance. There are others to be preserved and perfected : 
chastity, purity, faith, charity, and zeal. There arc perse 
verance and devotedness to God s service, and innumerable 
other goods yet in prospect, which I must unceasingly implore 
from God. Do thou, Blessed Lady, take all these my wants 
into thy bosom, and present them to thy Son to be supplied 
from the inexhaustible store of His mercies ; and then I may 
reckon with certain assurance upon thy prevailing, and my 
obtaining a supply of them all." 

" Monstra te esse Matrem : 
Sumat per te preces, 
Qui pro nobis natus 
Pulit esse tuus." 

JFiftfj fHontlj, Efjirti S2Sfc. 
THE BLESSED EUCHARIST. On an unworthy Communion. 

1. Reflect upon an imaginary, but possible case. Suppose 
that during our Saviom^ s life some son of Belial had entreated 
Him to come to his house to cure some one grievously ill, and 
at the same time to accept his hospitality; and that Jesus, 
though well knowing his design, yet consented to go : that the 
wretch, thus abusing His goodness, had conducted Him to 
some den of thieves, of men who most hated Him, and whose 
characters His sanctity most abhorred ; the very refuse of 
mankind : and, having thrust our Lord into the midst of them, 
had turned his back upon Him, and abandoned Him to their 
odious company. Could we conceive a more grievous insult, or 
more base and outrageous treatment 1 Yet what is this com 
pared with the conduct of the wretch who presumes to receive 
his Saviour unworthily? Jesus, so good and condescending, 
communicates Himself to us in the Blessed Eucharist, through 

2 B 2 


an excess of love. He comes into the breasts of those who 

elraw near and invite Him to heal their maladies, and be 

entertained by them. The unfeeling wretch takes advantage of 

this His ever-ready love, to introduce Him into a soul and body 

tenanted by every vice, or, even if by one alone, haunted by 

unclean spirits, occupied by the chief object of His detestation, 

the monster, sin; and, shutting Him up there, abandons 

Him to that hateful society. But, in the comparative instance, 

Jesus could have at least exerted His charity in the conversion 

of those wretches ; at any rate, He could not but love them as 

He loves all sinners. Whereas here it is not with sinners, but 

with sin, that He is brought into contact ; and that, without 

benefit to the offender, nor possible mitigation of His hatred. 

What a dreadful crime is this ! what a grievous injury to the 

Son of God ! The sin which it most resembles is that of Judas, 

who betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies, and had 

Him crucified between two thieves. In truth, Judas was the 

first unworthy communicant. Yet even he did not know the 

length to which the cruel persecutors would go ; when he did 

so, he restored the price of blood. But we, if we ever receive 

the Body of our Lord unworthily, are fully aware Who it is we 

insult, and of the extent to which we outrage Him. We 

know that we trample under foot the price of our salvation, and 

crucify over again, with our own hands, the Lord of glory. 

We offend, not as in other sins, against the goodness, or majesty, 

or authority of God, but we directly assault and maltreat the 

blessed and adorable Person of the Lord Jesus, in that Flesh 

which he took upon Himself to be the instrument of our 

salvation. Now this is the worst kind of treason, and the 

excess of villainy against any sovereign or other person in 

authority, to strike or otherwise personally insult him. What 

then must it be, so to treat the Lord of glory 1 And that, not 

as the Jews did when He was among them in the days of His 

humiliation, when He was here to suffer, but now at the right 

Hand of His father, adored and worshipped by His Saints and 


2. Reflect how the great and hardening guilt of this sin 
consists in its sacrilegiously turning the source and means of 
all grace and blessing into a cause of reprobation and eternal 


damnation. So completely, and almost literally, is this true, 
that S. Paul, using the boldest language, hesitates not to say 
of an unworthy receiver " Judicium sibi manducat et bibit" as 
though that which he ate and drank were truly damnation, 
instead of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is as though one 
invited to sit at the king s table should take that opportunity 
to throw poison into his viands, though he himself should prove 
the only victim. It is changing the waters of refreshment, 
miraculously struck out for us in the desert, into the bitter 
waters of Mara, by casting not a healing wood, but venom, into 
their very spring. For Jesus, our loving Friend, knowing no 
way by which more eminently to show His affection for us, 
gave Himself to us in this Blessed Sacrament, as though we 
could not but love Him and it, and approach it with tenderest 
emotion, much more with pure and sinless souls. But when 
this institution of His love becomes an object of indignity, 
contempt, and insult, by what can He hope to move us, to win 
us, or to save us 1 He condensed into the smallest possible 
compass all the mercies and graces purchased for us by His 
Passion ; making them up as in an essence which is most 
agreeable to the spiritual taste, and in a moment communicates 
them all to the soul. When we have dashed to pieces the 
sacred vessel that contains it, and with such utter contempt, 
how can He hope to heal us 1 He has bestowed upon us this 
pledge of eternal life, this symbol of unfailing friendship, made 
at once most portable and most beautiful : the brightest 
ornament, as the best security, of an immortal soul. When we 
have furiously thrown it away, and ignominiously trample it 
under our feet, by what other means can we hope to assure our 
title to eternal life 1 He has given us all that He could give, 
even Himself. After we have insulted and brutally outraged 
this Gift, what other has He to bestow 1 Hence, the unworthy 
communicant dries up at once the source of life and grace, 
exhausts the mercies of God, does his best at least to leave 
Him no other resources whereby He may save him. His 
communion is the very greatest of his sins, the most enormous 
of his crimes ; it brands his forehead before heaven with the 
mark of reprobation ; it sears his heart with the sear of im 
penetrable hardness : it seals his soul with the stamp of 


predestination to everlasting death. If in the dungeons of 
eternal woe there be many mansions, and lower degrees or 
abysses of reprobation and torment, surely the lowest will be 
reserved for those who have been guilty of personal outrage 
against the Son of man, whether on earth, such as Judas and 
the impious ruffians who maltreated Him, or such as in the 
Blessed Sacrament receive Him into an unworthy soul. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " Never, Blessed Lord, be 
this guilt upon my head ! Never may I be so wretched as this j 
to curse myself through Thy noblest blessing, or to turn to 
a deadly poison Thy sweetest food, Thy choicest medicine ! 
Never let me be so lost to a sense of Thy love, so hardened 
in crime, as to treat Thee with such indignity ! Worthy to 
approach Thee, and to partake of Thee, I know I never can be ; 
not though I had the purity of angels and the love of Seraphim, 
should I be sufficiently holy to be brought into such close union 
with Thee. But if I cannot introduce Thee into a sanctuary 
plated with gold, and splendid as Thy dwelling-place should be, 
let me bring Thee at least into a mansion clean, " swept out," 
and furnished, according to my poverty and small ability. 
Never rnayest Thou find it a den of thieves. Inspire me with 
great awe and reverence for this adorable Sacrament, to temper 
the love wherewith it hath pleased Thee to inspire me towards 
it. May that familiarity with it which is rny special privilege 
never beget in my soul negligence or indifference ; but, on the 
contrary, may each celebration of Thy divine mysteries be a 
preparation for the next, and at the same time a security 
against my falling into those sins which would expose me to the 
risk of approaching unworthily to Thine altar. May I ever 
prove and try myself, and so eat of this Thy bread, and drink 
Thy chalice." 


jFtftfj fftontf), f)iv& EHccft. 
LAST THINGS. HELL. Its Company. 

Preparation. Imagine to yourself the person of one of those 
condemned to that place of woe, chained down immovably, 
surrounded by companions as woeful and lost as himself, and 
devils of hideous forms. 

1. Reflect how, if any of us, or any one else who had received 
a liberal education, or whose mind was accustomed to serious 
or good thoughts, or even to the ordinary forms of civilised life, 
were for some misdemeanour condemned to a term of imprison 
ment, he would far prefer a solitary dungeon to the company 
of the wretches who are messed together in a public prison. 
There, in a confined space, some hundreds of the galley-slaves 
are locked up for the night ; whereas, during the day they 
enjoy the light and fresh air, and may converse with happier 
human beings. Their beds being crammed into a small com 
pass, often placed in tiers one above another, the closeness of 
so many bodies fetid from toil under the sun, from foulness, 
perhaps from disease, produces a noisome atmosphere, rivalled 
on earth only by the horrors of a slave-ship, and almost 
insupportable for the most devoted when they brave it in their 
works of charity. 

But further, what company ! * They are generally the most 
degraded and abandoned of human beings who are here crowded 
together ; and though they are cast in one lot, yet are they a 
thorn in each other s side, each tearing his companion s arms 
(Is. ix. 20), vexing him and multiplying his sufferings. 
Though their punishment is increased, and that severely, on 
such transgressions being discovered ; yet, through the silent 
night are heard curses, not loud, but deep, blasphemies muttered 
through the teeth, bitter groans of vexation and despair. But 
what they who have endured this place of misery, as they 
emphatically call it, describe as being the most frightful part 
of it, is the state of perpetual rage and irritation in which the 
mind is kept, waking and sleeping ; a spite against all their 

* This description (a most faint one) is given from the account detailed 
me in prison by a galley-slave. 


superiors, which they say occupies them all day with designs 
how they may escape, for no other purpose than to inflict 
vengeance upon them ; constant irritation against the com 
panions of their lot, that makes them ever ready to assault 
them, even fatally; an impious hatred of Almighty God Him 
self, which vents itself in blasphemous words against Him and 
His Saints. "What a company to pass twenty or thirty years 
in ! Yet what is this, compared with the company of hell ? 
Not for the night only, but for the day too, if day can be 
applied to that dark dungeon, is the transgressor confined 
in that dense charnel-house ; where not on separate pallets, 
however close, but in heaps, the damned are piled up, like 
lociists which the east wind hath driven and drifted together 
upon the shore. Not for five, or ten, or twenty years is 
he condemned to their company, but for all eternity ; nor will 
it be with rational beings checked by considerations of hope, of 
fear, of some degree of sympathy, or self-love in their wicked 
ness and rage, but with creatures let loose one on another 
unbridled, unrestrained; allowed to satiate their tigerish 
appetites for vengeance one upon another. Oh, what impre 
cations and horrible impieties arise from that pit of infamy and 
agony, in a tumultuous and wild uproar towards the throne 
of the most High ! "What curses and despiteful insults spread 
on every side from each one to all the rest. One, in accents of 
rage, curses the other s outcries, and is answered by still 
louder shrieks and yells of despair ! Another cries out with 
moans and bitter complaint of the suffocation with which 
he is pressed down by the human mass above and around 
him, and is comforted by a volley of blasphemies and 
hateful taunts. As many companions as he has in misery, so 
many bitter and cruel enemies has he, so many executioners 
fettered by no law of conscience, by no precept, by no power 
in the inflictions dictated by their mutual hatred. Sympathy, 
humanity, the lowest feelings of kindness, such as man would 
here exhibit to a brute, have no names in the language of that 
infernal region. Rage, hatred, detestation, and all the acts and 
inflictions that flow from them; violence, aggression, insult, 
and torment, are the social laws and feelings which bind 
together this republic of woe, and comprise the circle of 


relations between its members. Oh ! who would not rather be 
annihilated outright than spend an eternity in such company 1 
And after all, of whom is it composed 1 Of sinners ! Of those 
among whom we choose to be numbered without scruple here 
on earth. What can we look for, if we do so, but to be enrolled 
among them in their place below ? 

2. Reflect how amidst this general and indiscriminate fury, 
there will be two classes of companions, whose office it will 
peculiarly be to increase the weight of torment which the 
vengeance of God inflicts. The first will consist of those spirits 
of darkness who were the seducers of the wretched beings here 
condemned, and are now their gaolers and tormentors, the 
instruments of Almighty justice upon them. We need not 
draw upon our imagination, nor upon that of artists, for horrid 
shapes in which we may suppose them to appear ; while they 
worry and tear with ingenious cruelty the bodies of their 
victims. Upon these points the word of God and the Church 
have taught us nothing specific. But would not the mere 
existence among such beings make existence worse than anni 
hilation 1 Think of living with Lucifer, the King of pride, 
who must exercise a special tyranny over those whom he has 
deceived, who have followed him in the ambition for rule which 
cast him out from heaven ! With those, once angels, filled 
with bitter hatred against God, against all that He loves, and 
eager to vent it upon His once favoured creature now in 
their fangs ! What a dismal and intolerable sight, to see those 
infernal spirits ever at our sides, who by the bait of a momen 
tary indulgence, had lured us into the net of perdition; who 
by the blaze of a dim transient flame of honour enticed us like 
moths to our own destruction ! What a cruel sound to hear 
their devilish taunts and reproaches, as they remind us of the 
circumstances by which they seduced us, the care wherewith 
they entrapped us, or the difficulties they encountered in first 
overcoming us ! What a despair will it cause to hear from their 
foul mouths the most eloquent description of heaven and its 
beauties, of the majesty of God, and the contrast between their 
present and former abode. How shall we deplore our folly 
and madness when reproached for it by the very demons, seeing 
how it has brought us under their scorn and their scourge 1 


But if the company of their seducers is so grievous to the 
damned, what must be the presence of those other lost souls to 
whom the reprobate have acted a devil s part, and by persuasion, 
example, scandal, or otherwise, brought them to perdition ? To 
be shut up for all eternity with those whom by our negligence 
or bad advice we have led into that abyss : what an aggrava 
tion even to hell ! A parishioner, a pupil, a friend, perhaps a 
relation, a brother ! To see him ever before our eyes ; to think 
of the innocent soul that once was a child of heaven, pure, holy, 
and beloved of God, and now a scorched and blighted outcast 
from heaven, branded with the lightning of divine vengeance, 
with the seal of everlasting reprobation ! To think that all the 
unutterable woe we behold was our own doing ; to feel those 
torments, by reflection, most justly added to our own ! To 
hear throughout that endless night of sorrow irremediable the 
wailings of a soul lost by our means ; and then, when lashed up 
to fury, piercing our very ears with fierce cries for sevenfold 
vengeance which it yells forth to a just God upon the cruel 
author of its misery ! What shuddering horror to ourselves 
from the volley of fiendish curses which it pours upon our 
heads ! Oh, what a company to spend countless ages in ! In 
vain will the miserable accomplice in sin strain every nerve to 
escape from it. He is chained down, and they whose perdition 
he has effected are beside him; so that the one must needs 
torment, and the other must needs undergo the torment. 

3. Resolutions. "I will fly now from the tabernacles of the 
wicked, my God ! that I may have no part in the congrega 
tion of Core, when the earth shall open to swallow them up. I 
will dwell on earth with the just, and will converse with those 
in time among whom I hope and desire to live for eternity. 
Give me but one of the humblest of Thy mansions, in the house 
of Thy Father ; so that I escape the abominable society of Thy 
enemies, the reprobate and their tormentors. It is not amidst 
blasphemers of Thee and of Thy mercies that I can endure to 
live : I should detest their society for one day, yea for one 
hour ; how then could I bear it for ever 1 It is with rny angel 
guardian and his blessed companions, it is with Mary and Thy 
Saints, that I desire to live for ever. It is in singing Thy 
praises and blessing Thy holy Name that I wish to pass an 


eternity of unwearied bliss. Before Thy glorious Face do I 
desire to stand for endless ages ; for I can never be satiated 
with Thy beauty. Bat now let me labour and toil, according 
as Thou wilt, for this happiness. Above all, never allow any 
one through my fault to descend into that pit ; never let my 
name be mentioned in the cries for vengeance of any of its 
victims ; but let it often be spoken before Thy Throne by those 
whom I shall have made my friends in Thine everlasting 

jfiftfj fHontlj, (Tfjirti <EXcck. 

the Ministers of the Eucharist. [Same Subject J\ 

1. Reflect how we are not entrusted with the ministration of 
the Blessed Eucharist merely for our own sanctification and 
advantage ; but are likewise appointed to communicate its 
immense benefits to the faithful of Christ. The priests of the 
Old Law were employed in offering up sacrifice, not only for 
themselves, but much more for the people ; and it was for the 
common benefit rather than for their own that their order and 
dignity was established. When the sons of Heli abused the 
privilege of their office, and by their conduct revolted those 
who came to worship at the tabernacle, the Scripture says of 
them, "wherefore the sin of the young men was exceeding 
great before the Lord, because they withdrew men from the 
sacrifice of the Lord" (1 Kings, ii. 17). How much greater 
will our sin be, if by our irreverent conduct or negligence in 
performing our duty, we drive men from partaking of this 
Sacrifice of the New Law, the reality of all those types. But 
though there may not be much danger of our committing any 
actual irreverence while engaged at the altar, many will be 
withheld from approaching it as often as they would, if they 
find us cold and indifferent about celebrating, and void of de 
votion and fervour in its ministration. In vain shall we in 
culcate on the faithful the importance of frequent communion, 
if we do not keep a proportion in our own practice. If we 


come into a place where former pastors have, from the cir 
cumstances of past times, seldom celebrated mass in public 
more than once or twice a week, and the flock have generally 
communicated but a few times . in the year, shall we hope to- 
bring them to a more fervent practice, without a corresponding 
increase in the measure of our own 1 If we would have them 
advance to a weekly communion, which with regular Christians 
would not be too much, should not we naturally make the first 
example by increasing the celebration of the Eucharistic sacri 
fice to every day 1 But, as ministers of these adorable mysteries, 
we have a twofold responsibility. First, we are bound to pro 
cure for the Holy Eucharist all the honour and homage we 
may j and thus are bound to prepare and to bring as many as 
we can of those for whose benefit it was instituted, to partake 
worthily of it. It is the table of God, spread for His children : 
and it is our part to surround it by as many of them as possible, 
like young olive plants, fresh and flourishing. It is the marriage 
feast of the Lamb ; and we are the servants sent out to tell the 
invited that it is ready. We are therefore to induce as many 
as we can to break through the vain and unworthy hindrances 
of earth, and to draw near; lest their Lord be angry and ex 
clude them for ever. It is the food which the Eternal Wisdom 
has prepared, the wine which He has mingled; and we, His 
heralds, are bid to stand in the public places, and call out in 
His Name: " Come and eat My bread, and drink the wine 
which I have mingled for you/ Further, we have a respon 
sibility towards those for whom the adorable Sacrifice was in 
stituted. Knowing that it is the great and principal source 
of their sanctification, we must labour incessantly to make them 
worthy of receiving it often, and induce them to do so with 
reverence, devotion, and love. But this ministry of the Blessed 
Eucharist imposes upon us another duty of grave obligation ; 
that of administering it to the faithful before they quit this 
world and stand before the judgment-seat of God. Oh, what 
deep and lasting remorse shall we have, if through any neg 
ligence on our parts, if from want of readiness to obey the first 
summons to the bedside of the sick, or from inattention to their 
real state, or from not having applied ourselves to prepare and 
dispose them for it in health, or in the earlier stages of their 


sickness, any of our flock shall pass away to the formidable bar 
of divine justice without the refreshment of the Bread of Life, 
the provision for their perilous journey ! 

2. Reflect upon the dignity and honour which accompany 
this responsibility attached to our character of dispensers to 
others of the sacred mysteries. It is in this, more than in our 
other offices, that we are shown to be dispensers and stewards 
of God s graces and blessings. We are to His people what 
Joseph was in Egypt, When the Egyptians, oppressed with 
grievous famine, cried to Pharaoh for food ; he replied : " Ite 
ad Joseph " (Gen. xli. 55). Through him alone he would have 
them supplied ; by him alone he would have the granaries and 
storehouses opened. And see in what terms he bestowed upon 
him his commission for this purpose. " He took his ring from 
his own hand, and gave it into his hand ; and he put upon 
him a robe of silk, and put a chain of gold about his neck." 
What an investiture, to show the people the importance of his 
charge and office who dispensed to them the meat that perisheth ! 
And has not God clothed us at the foot of the altar with sacred 
attire, and anointed our hands with His chrism, and placed 
round our necks the sweet yoke of the sacerdotal dignity? 
Again; mark the qualities which even that heathenish king 
required in one whom he entrusted with this comparatively 
mean office. " Can we find," he asks, " such another man that 
is full of the spirit of God ? " (v. 38). If this was the character 
of one who had but to give the people earthly food, what should 
theirs be who have to break to them the Bread of angels ! In 
the New Law there was another Joseph, who for many years 
had under his care the Son of God. And we, the priests of 
that Divine Son, may be said somewhat to resemble S. Joseph 
in his office. For as, during the Sacred infancy, no one would 
have spoken to Jesus, or have feasted with Him, or have em 
braced Him without S. Joseph s consent and intervention, so 
even now cannot the faithful attain to that close and intimate 
communication with Jesus, which can be had only in and 
through this Blessed Sacrament, unless we lead them to Him, 
and bring Him to them, and so make them meet and remain 
together. What a marvellous dignity, to be thus the guardian 
and keeper of this precious treasure ! u Qui custos est Domini 


sui, glorificabitur" (Prov. xxvii. 18). And what is this glory? 
It was, with due proportion, the same in both. The elder 
Joseph, for thus dispensing the bread of Pharaoh, received the 
title of the father of Pharaoh : " Deus fecit me quasi pair em 
Pharaonis " (Gen. xlv. 8) ; and the Joseph of the New Law 
deserved to be reputed the father of Jesus, whose custody and 
guardianship he had : " Ecce pater tuus et ego dolentes queer e- 
bamus te" (Luke ii. 48). If we venture not to aspire to such 
a title of power and dignity, yet these examples may show us 
how nearly we become allied to our Divine Saviour by our part 
in His ministry, and the dispensation of His blessed Eucharist. 
Oh, what fidelity and holiness, what purity and reverence, what 
love and zeal does not this suppose in us ! One Joseph is de 
scribed as full of the spirit of God, the other as a just man : 
and we, oh ! shame to us, have so little of God s spirit, can so 
little claim to be called just, that is perfect ! How our lives 
should be a model to all the faithful ! How they should argue 
the purity and love wherewith our people themselves should ap 
proach these adorable mysteries, from the holiness of life which 
they saw in us their ministers, and from the deep feelings of 
devotion wherewith we performed them ! 

3. Affections. " Blessed Jesus, Bread of life, and Life of the 
world, with what deep sentiment of awe, and yet of love, should 
I appear, and be indeed, animated, every time I stand between 
Thee and Thy people, as Thy minister to dispense to them this 
spiritual nourishment, Thy adorable Flesh ! If angels copied 
in heaven the ritual of the Old Law, and offered incense above 
on altars of gold, surely we should reverse that imitation, and 
represent on earth, at the altar of Thee, the Lamb of God, some 
portion of their love and adoring solemnity while paying Thee 
their celestial homage. The faithful should see, in their priests, 
angels rather than men, typifying Thee, O " Angel of the great 
council," who dost offer up the sublime gift upon our altars ; 
and as Thou art the self-same Lamb, there offered up, and to 
whom angelic choirs give praise and benediction in heaven, so 
should they who partake of that angelic office, partake also of 
their angelic love. But, O dear Lord ! how far am I from this 
standard of virtue, and seemingly how little likely to attain it. 
Bless, however, my endeavours ; and grant, not merely that I 


may never be a reproach to Thy priesthood, but that I may be 
an edification to Thy children, and a faithful and reverent 
servant of Thine altar." 

JFtftfj fHantlj, Efjirfc OTecft. 

His Patience. 

1. Reflect how the patience of our Divine Saviour has 
always been considered one of the most striking features of His 
character. It is, indeed, the virtue most clearly attributed to 
Him in ancient prophecy. David, in the person of his Son the 
Messias, dedicates an entire psalm to the description of His 
sufferings, endured with a thorough confidence in His Heavenly 
Father, and a perfect submission to His holy will (Ps. xxi.). 
The prophet Jeremias in his own person typified the Saviour 
of the world. He was persecuted by his countrymen, by those 
to whom he had dedicated his service for their temporal and 
eternal benefit : and he describes, again and again, in the most 
feeling terms, the unresisting patience with which he suffered, 
looking to God alone for comfort and support. And the 
evangelical prophet Isaias still more clearly describes the 
behaviour of Jesus under His most cruel torments. " OUatus 
est, quia ipse voluit, et non aperuit os suum : sicut ovis ad 
occisionem clucetur, et quasi agnus coram tondente se obmutescet 
et non aperiet os suum " (53-7). And again : " Nonerit Iristis 
neque turbulentus " (xlii. 4). Nor shall we find much difficulty 
in discovering how completely to the letter Jesus, in life and 
death, corresponded to these descriptions. It pleased Jesus to 
preserve the sacredness of His person untouched during the 
course of His life. He escaped, sometimes by express miracle, 
from the hands of those who would have done Him harm. He 
reserved this greatest of ignominies and of sufferings for that 
hour when He should assume and verify His title of the 
"Man of Sorrows." But in the meantime, there were two 
kinds of suffering which afforded opportunities for the mani- 


festation of this virtue. The firs tresulted from the condition 
of His life, from poverty and all its privations, hunger, thirst, 
want of accommodation, fatigue, and a train of other dis 
comforts. All these Jesus bore without murmur or complaint, 
without any interior repining ; on the contrary, with cheerful 
ness of heart. Yet how soon are our spirits broken by any 
reverse of fortune, by any disturbance of our comfort or 
pleasures ! The second source of Our Redeemer s suffering 
during His life, lay in the malice of His enemies, who by their 
machinations left Him no peace, by their captious and evil-minded 
questionings broke in upon His teachings, by their calumnies and 
falsehood attacked His reputation, by their sarcasms and criti 
cism sought to impair the credit of His miracles. Under these 
manifold contradictions He never betrayed the slightest im 
patience, but meekly removed the obstacles they threw in the 
way of His sacred mission. What greatly enhances, too, the 
value of this exercise of patience is, first that all these sufferings 
were most unjust and completely undeserved ; whereas ours 
are nothing in proportion to what we have merited : secondly, 
that He could, by a word, have put an end to them, so 
as to leave Himself free from all molestation ; while 
we cannot avert or remove the trials which visit us. 
Yet He suffered all willingly and uncomplainingly : while 
we groan under every affliction of the hand of God, and 
repine, and murmur, as though it were something new and 
unheard of that the just should suffer, much more sinners such 
as we ! Ah, it was indeed needful that Jesus should suffer, 
that so He might teach us patience. 

2. Reflect how it is chiefly in His Passion that our Lord 
exhibited in all its perfection this Divine patience. We need 
not now follow Him through the different stages of His 
sufferings. Let us rather dwell on the peculiarity of this virtue 
as practised by Jesus. The heathens had a principle whereby 
they fortified themselves against suffering, whether in body or 
in soul. They clothed themselves in their pride as in a coat of 
proof-mail, which the shaft of adversity or enmity could not 
pierce. They set themselves above the misfortunes or the 
persons that afflicted them : they affected to look down upon 
them with contempt, and like an Indian savage in the hands 


of his tormenting enemies, found in the haughtiness of their 
bearing, or in the admiration they excited, a balm for their 
wounds. Fortitude was the name they gave to this feeling, 
as though it were their strength which resisted : and they bore 
up with courage and power against the evils that oppressed 
them. But how far removed from patience was this sen 
timent ! as far removed as pride is from humility ; for such 
are their respective sources. The patience of Jesus was not 
demonstrated by resistance, but by yielding : its eloquence was 
silence, its victory was gained by sacrifice. But this is the 
great wonder of the religion which He taught, as based upon 
His own example ; it sought out whatever had been considered 
most despicable and ignominious, and made it a thing most 
glorious. In the Old Law, Almighty God loved to make use 
of insignificant and weak instruments for great purposes. He 
overthrew Goliath with a pebble, and Pharaoh s kingdom by 
gnats and flies; He made shepherds prophets, and herdsmen 
kings. But it was reserved for the New to bring into honour 
what was considered mean and degrading ; to make bearing an 
insult or a blow unrevenged a merit ; or to draw the perfection 
of virtue from a leper s sores patiently endured. Patience in 
this sense is not a virtue extolled or much commended in the 
ancient covenant. In truth, how could the excellence, the 
beauty, the sublimity of such virtue as this be comprehended, 
till the example of a God made man had inculcated and re 
commended it? What less would have convinced men that 
mere silent patience could be so noble a thing 1 It was meet, 
therefore, that Jesus should lead the way, and become our 
captain and standard-bearer in this march through ignominy 
to perfection, as though it were through the mire to a throne ! 
And perfectly indeed did He perform this part of His office for 
us ; perfect in all patience from birth to death ! 

3. Affections. " O, Jesus, model of all perfection, especially 
of that patience which hath a perfect work (S. James i. 4.), 
be Thine example ever before my eyes in all tribulation and 
affliction of body and of spirit ! It was by this contemplation 
that Thy martyrs endured death and exquisite torments 
without a groan. They thought on Thee, the great Master 
of this lesson : they weighed their suffering against Thine ; 

2 c 


they bethought them that Thou, the All-Innocent One, hadst 
endured these things patiently for their sakes, and it seemed 
to them but little to bear those in return for Thine. So let 
me, in the trifling visitations which Thy fatherly hand sends 
me, contemplate Thee in the garden, at the pillar, or upon 
the cross ; and with an affectionate heart study to come as near 
as possible to the pattern Thou dost show me. Guilty that I 
am, I will endeavour to attain some degree at least of that 
wonderful and divine patience which supported Thee, the 
spotless Lamb, under so many and such grievous sufferings." 

jFiftf) fEontfj, Etjtrti 22Ecefc, 
MISSIONARY DUTIES. On a Love of the Poor. 

1. Reflect how, in the ancient Church, one of the great 
duties of zealous pastors was considered to be the care of Christ s 
poor. Those pontiffs who are most highly commended for 
their ecclesiastical virtues receive constantly this title Pau- 
peruni Amator. It was not a mere liberality or generous 
charity towards them that was thus characterized, but a real 
and fatherly affection, which made them solicitous for this 
more needy portion of their flocks. They kept lists of all the 
indigent, and deputed virtuous and able presbyters to search 
them out, and see that their wants were supplied, and their 
spiritual necessities attended to, in every quarter of the city. 

When the glorious martyr, S. Laurence, was commanded by 
the heathen to deliver up the treasures of his church, we know 
how he acted. He sold all the plate and sacred vessels of 
divine service, and distributed the price to the indigent ; then, 
collecting all these together, he showed the judge, who expected 
to see gold and jewels, the blind and lame, the aged and infirm, 
as being the Church s real treasures. So great was the value 
which the Church and her Saints set upon the poor of God, 
whom worldly-minded men would have entirely despised, or, at 
most, haughtily relieved. In the following ages, we find the 
same spirit of charity animating all the most virtuous pastors. 
Xay, the Church no longer allowed the lot of these her favourite 


children to depend on the personal charity of her ministers ; 
but, by strict enactment, obliged them to lay by a specific 
portion of their income for their support. She took under her 
special protection all bequests and institutions in their favour, 
and might be said, in this respect, to place their rights on a 
level with those of her clergy and her own. And if we come 
to modern times, what a tender love of the poor do we not find 
in those pastors who form the best models for us to copy ! 
What boundless liberality towards them in S. Charles Borromeo, 
who distributed the produce of whole estates among them in 
one day, and sedulously watched their interests ! What zealous, 
indefatigable affection for them did S. Vincent of Paul manifest, 
devoting his entire life to their service, in hospitals, in prisons, 
in loathsome galleys, and in every abode of misery ! What were 
those but specimens of the Catholic spirit which animated so 
many other pastors ; bishops, like the one, or priests, like the 
other 1 This is, indeed, the true spirit of the Christian priest 
hood : not merely to discharge the functions our office imposes 
upon us to the poor with zeal and impartiality j but still more, 
to feel towards them a true compassionate love, which will 
cause us a greater joy and comfort in attending to them and 
their needs than in serving the rich and great. The priest is 
the father of the poor ; they have no other comforter, no other 
friend here below. They have, indeed, a Father in heaven ; 
and that Paraclete, or Comforter, whom the Church addresses 
in these words " Veni, Pater pauperum" What an honour 
should we not esteem it to be His vicegerents and repre 
sentatives here below ; to have to act His part towards these 
His favourite children, His dearest care ! Shall we not, then, 
discharge this office with zealous affection and scrupulous 
diligence ? 

2. Reflect how we should love the poor, because Jesus loved 
them when here upon earth, and loves them still in heaven. 
Any one who loved not the poor could not have loved Jesus 
when on earth, for He was Himself pooi\ Any contempt of 
them falls upon that condition of life which he chose for Him 
self, and upon His dear Mother and His best friends. We 
take part with the rich Pharisees against Him, when we court 
and love the wealthy and powerful, and neglect His little ones. 

2 c 2 


When on earth, He gave preference to the state of the poor by 
being born among them, and making them His relations. From 
them He selected His chosen twelve, who were to be His 
instruments in confounding the rich of this world, and planting 
in it His saving faith. He extolled and enjoined poverty as 
the most perfect of human states in His religion, making it a 
counsel to such as aimed at the highest eminence of virtue. If 
Jesus, then, our form and exemplar, our prince and guide r 
loved the poor beyond all others, how much should we prize 
them, love them, and make them objects of our tenderest care I 
And these are sufficient reasons to recommend to us this love ; 
for God has placed them at once in that condition at which we 
must study to arrive by painful sacrifices and difficult detach 
ments from affections strongly rooted. He has made them poor, 
that they may claim heaven as their rightful reward ; He has 
made them as Lazarus in this world, whose place in the other 
life is Abraham s bosom ; and He has directly contrasted them 
in both with the rich clad in purple. He has made them poor, 
that, through kindness and love to them, they who are rich 
may be saved : and though we may ourselves never be, in a 
literal sense, rich in earthly goods, yet shall we be, through 
God s mercies, rich in spiritual gifts, able to dispense them to 
all, and therefore with special willingness and pleasure to those 
who most need such consolations. " Silver and gold have I 
none," said the Apostle Peter to the beggar at the Temple gate, 
I am poor as thyself in the perishable things that men call 
riches " but that which I have, I give thee. In nomine 
Jesu surge et ambuln " (Acts iii. 6). This was certainly much 
more than the wealthiest Pharisee could have bestowed ; and 
if, as is most probable, the restored cripple was among the five 
thousand whom his cure converted, still more for this than for 
his bodily restoration he must have leaped and praised God. 
We, then, not having silver nor gold to bestow, may well give 
those better things which conduce to spiritual profit and life 
eternal good counsel, instruction, consolation, and encourage 
ment. But, moreover, Jesus loved the poor ; and we should 
love them, because of their greater docility and readiness to 
receive the words of eternal life. For one rich man that will 
embrace the faith, or turn from his evil ways, many poor will 


hear our voice in simplicity of heart, and strive to obey it. 
Religion in the beginning took root in the (so-called) lower 
classes of society ; and, like a tree, raised its stem higher and 
higher, till its branches out-topped the cedars of Libanus. And 
in a like soil must the seed of life be again sown for like 
results. Let us neglect no order or class of men ; but if we 
would have the crown of our glory to be woven of many 
flowers, let us till the ground where they may be gathered, 
among the poor. If we would have the blessing of God to 
rest upon us in the dark hour of death, let us ever remember 
those words of the Holy Spirit " Beatus qui intelliyit super 
cc/enum et pauperem, in die maid liberabit eum Dominus" 
(Psa. xl. 2). 

3. Resolutions. " Let us then ever keep in mind that ap 
plication made by our Lord to Himself of the prophet s words ; 
and in our turn, as His disciples, apply them to our own com 
mission : l Evangelizare pauperibus misit me (Luke iv. 18). 
Let us love, in our preaching, not so much to witness the 
approving smiles of the refined and educated, as the tears of 
the poor. Let us be the father of the orphan and the com 
forter of the widow. Far from any haughtiness or pride, let 
us heed but little the company of the great, but love to visit 
the cottage of the needy to pray by their bedside in sickness, 
to encourage them, to exhort and correct them, and render 
them every assistance we can, temporal and spiritual. And 
Thou, dear Jesus ! who hast here set us the example, teach us 
to walk in it; and, without despising any class of men, to 
direct our ministry where it will be the most acceptable to Thee, 
and the most profitable to ourselves. Inspire my heart with a 
love of Thy poorer children of those who were the first to love 
and acknowledge Thee, and whom Thou hast consequently 
made to resemble Thee and Thy ever-blessed Mother." 


JFiftfj fHontfj, EfjtrtJ Kk. JFrttrag. 

THE PASSION. THE PR^TORIUM. Jesus is mocked by 
the Soldiers (Is crowned with Thorns). 

Preparation. Represent to yourself Jesus, after having 
been crowned with thorns, placed upon a mock throne, and 
saluted in scorn by the soldiery. 

1. Reflect how the crowning of Jesus with thorns was only 
intended as a preparation for grievous insult, and was part of 
the scheme of outrages devised by the brutal soldiers. Having 
thus placed on His head a mockery of a crown, they proceeded 
to invest Him with other mock insignia of royalty. Over 
His shoulders, stripped and lacerated, they threw a purple 
garment, or something bearing such proportion to the imperial 
purple as did His thorny crown to an imperial diadem. In 
a like spirit they placed in His hands a reed for a sceptre, to 
mock the weakness which they attributed to His rule. Having 
thus attired Him, they make Him sit down on some mock 
throne, and then insult Him by a pretended homage on 
bended knee ; saying to Him, " Hail, King of the Jews ! " 
(Matt, xxvii. 29.) Before proceeding further to meditate upon 
these outrages, let us prostrate ourselves in spirit before our 
dear Saviour seated upon this seat of scorn where His enemies 
have placed Him. Let us say with true and earnest feeling, 
" All hail ! O King, not only of the Jews, but of the Gentiles 
also ; Lord of the whole world ; above all, King and undis 
puted master of our souls. Yes ; what they did in scoffs and 
insults, we do in truth and sincerity of heart. We salute 
Thee, we bless Thee, we give Thee glory, we offer Thee 
homage, as willing and devoted servants/ Having thus, to 
the utmost of our power, compensated to our Blessed Saviour 
the insults He suffered for our sakes, let us reflect upon our 
selves in connection with this treatment. The words which 
these base wretches uttered were in themselves true ; for Jesus 
claimed, most righteously, the title of King of His nation. 
He was the son of David, the promised ruler over Israel. 
The attitude in which the words were pronounced was the 
only one in which their homage should be tendered ; for at 


His Name every knee shall bow. Yet was there in the whole 
ceremony an impious mockery and most outrageous insult ; 
since it was not the homage of the heart, but was tendered in 
mocking unbelief. And what else will be our words of homage, 
if not inward and deeply sincere if spoken only through form 
and usage, and with a divided heart when we kneel before 
God in prayer, and profess to worship Him as our King and 
sovereign Lord, yet with thoughts at the very moment wander 
ing back to His enemy the world employed on some scheme 
to obtain its favour, or paying it our court ? Will not our 
professions of fidelity be a mockery and insult 1 Shall we be 
accepted before Him as faithful vassals, and not rather re 
jected as insulting rebels 1 When before the altar, on the Body 
of Jesus being elevated before our eyes, we bow down pro 
foundly, and perhaps address Him with our lips in these words, 
" Ave verum corpus iiatum ex Maria Virgine /" while we feel 
no deep interior faith in what is presented to us, nor that 
reverence and awe, nor that ardent love, which the near pre 
sence of the God who redeemed us should inspire, but rise 
again, distracted and cold as before : shall we flatter our 
selves that our Ace or Hail shall be better received than 
that of the soldiers 1 Shall we be acknowledged as sincere 
adorers, and not as insulters of Him, when, robed in the 
purple of His own most precious Blood, and crowned with 
ineffable glory, the angels, whom He redeemed not, are wor 
shipping and adoring with their faces on the earth 1 If the 
conduct of this Roman soldiery appears to us so ruffianly, may 
it not be easier for us than we are inclined to imagine, to fall 
into their very crime, and imitate their insults 1 

2. Reflect how those wretches did not confine their mockery 
to words, but proceeded to further outrage. For, " spitting 
upon Him, they took the reed and struck His Head " (v. 30). 
At the commencement of this tragical scene, we are told that 
"the soldiers" (who had scourged Him) "gathered together 
unto Him the whole band" (v. 27) to take part in this new 
device of cruelty. Jesus therefore was given up to the un 
bridled license of these malignant men ; and had to receive not 
merely the mock-worship already meditated on, but the indig 
nities and painful wrongs here described. Alas, the meanest 


of us would not allow his face to be spit upon by the noblest 
of the land, without reprisal and revenge, which all the world 
and the laws themselves would approve. Yet the son of 
David, nay, the Son of God, is impiously spit upon by an 
entire company of vile soldiers, the refuse of the slave-market 
or the dungeon : and He murmurs not ; He turns not away 
His face ! Oh, the meekness of this Lamb of God ! Oh, the 
greatness of His patience and long-suffering ! The least of us, 
perhaps the humblest of us, would not bear to have a stick so 
much as shaken in a menacing attitude over his head, but 
would wrench it with violence from the hand that presumed so 
to hold it; and if actually struck, he would think himself 
justified before God and man if he returned blow for blow. 
Nay, rather ; before the latter, at least, he would hold himself 
for ever disgraced did he not resent so gross an insult. Yet 
the Consubstantial of the Eternal Father is not only menaced, 
but struck on the Head ; and upon a Head surrounded and 
covered by sharp thorns ! He complains not ; He shows no 
sign of anger ! Oh, incredible love of this dear Saviour 
towards us ! Oh, the intense desire He must have felt for our 
salvation, to have been willing to compass it even thus ! 
Imagine what an hour of agony this must have been to your 
dear Jesus ! Helpless and abandoned by all, He is the laughing 
stock of a troop of brutal soldiers, the butt of all their rude 
jests and ruder treatment, of their buffets and blows ! Never, 
throughout His Passion, does he so completely appear as the 
sheep before the slayer, or as the lamb silent before the shearer. 
Rather, He is as a lamb surrounded by ravening wolves, that 
already with their eyes devour Him, and open their mouths 
upon Him, and sharpen their teeth to tear Him in pieces. 
But He, with hands meekly crossed upon His breast, as 
though pressing us, the objects of His love, into His heart, 
with eyes modestly cast down, or raised up in loving resigna 
tion towards heaven, turns not away His face from them 
that spit upon Him, but gives His cheeks to them that pluck 
them ! 

3. Affections. " Divine model of every perfection, but 
here beyond all others of patience and mildness, of gentleness 
and resignation, I adore Thee ! Filled with shame and con- 


fusion, I confess before Thee the too great share I have had in 
these Thy sufferings. Too often, indeed, have I not only 
crucified Thee, but emulated the mockery which preceded Thy 
crucifixion, by my outrages against Thee. By my lukewarm- 
ness and coldness, when I came before Thee to serve and 
worship Thee, especially in Thy adorable Sacrament, I have 
bid Thee Hail more in scorn than in faith. When Thy graces 
have been most liberally bestowed upon me, I have despised 
and neglected them ; and thus have insulted Thee to Thy face. 
When my fickle affections, shaken as a reed by every breath, 
have wavered to and fro, how often have they struck Thee, 
beating back the words of Thy mouth, as though of no autho 
rity with me ! But, from henceforth, be it my study and glory 
not merely to refrain from such conduct, but to procure Thee 
honour and homage from the lips and hearts of many : to bring 
many to bend their knees before Thee, and greet Thee their 
King in truth and sincerity. Especially in the blessed Sacrament 
where that very Body is adored which was so cruelly insulted 
and maltreated by the impious guards. There will I daily 
adore Thee, and glorify and exalt Thee, in reparation of all 
the abasement and pain Thou didst mercifully endure for love 
of me in this stage of Thy bitter Passion. And Thy angels 
shall join me with that glorious strain which no doubt they 
then sang forth to bless and adore Thee." 

jfiftfj iHontfj, CfjirtJ 


of Itules. 

1. Reflect how, if the perfection of every state depends on 
the due observance of all its duties, that of our present state 
must depend mainly upon the exact discharge of all imposed 
upon us by the regulations of our community. The importance 
of these is not to be estimated by any idea we may individually 
conceive of it, nor by the good which they may do to us in 
particular ; but by more general and more generous considera 
tions. For it is plain that no good order can be kept in any 


community if the private judgment of each one is to be consti 
tuted a tribunal over the rules and laws which govern his daily 
life. There is not a single duty, however sacred, which pride, 
or sloth, or rnoroseness, or other feelings, would not at times 
represent to some one as superfluous, or even hurtful. One 
would find but little fruit in daily meditation, and so think the 
slightest excuse sufficient for absenting himself. Another, 
fancying his prayers are more fervent when said alone than in 
the chapel, would not scruple to stay away from public evening 
devotion. A third, imagining he can learn more at home by 
private application than by public lectures, would make no 
difficulty of remaining in the house when he should attend his 
classes. Again, thinking that many regulations are simply 
unmeaning restraints on our liberty of action, or depend upon 
prejudices which we fancy ourselves raised above, we should 
slight them, and think little of escaping their control, if un 
observed, and so uncensured. In this way, no rule would be 
properly observed, discipline would be subverted, and virtue 
shortly disappear. For what but a foolish pride and overween 
ing confidence in our own judgments can lead us thus to set 
our opinions above the law, and above the experience of others, 
past and present 1 What good quality, or what virtue, can we 
hope to attain, where humility, the only solid foundation of all 
spiritual good, is neglected ; nay, where we make an act of 
pride the groundwork for our supposed greater improvement ? 
In fact, this is the great use of rule : to check and overcome 
that law of our own wills, and that desire to be always governed 
by our own caprices, which is inherent in our depraved souls 
at all times, but more especially in youth. Hence, the more 
we find our inclinations rebel against any part of our established 
order, or any specific regulations, the more diligent and punctual 
should we be in its observance ; to overcome this presumption 
of our hearts, and break down the opposition which the old 
man makes to the yoke of Christ. But there are many regu 
lations in which not only the individual case cannot be con 
sulted, but not even the aggregate community is principally 
had in view ; but where public edification and the general good 
of the Church is the object. It is a still more miserable pride 
which can overlook these for a private benefit. All regulations 


or recommendations which regard the form of walking out and 
appearing in public of which we are too much inclined to 
think meanly, because galling to our vanity, or different from 
our usages are directed to prevent scandal and to give edifica 
tion. If not necessary for us, they are for others ; and we, as 
much as S. Paul, are debtors to the wise and to the unwise. 
The people who see candidates for the priesthood walk abroad 
with a dissipated air and worldly gait, little knowing or taking 
into account their national habits, begin to think less respect 
fully of the clergy in general. Thus we may lower the regard 
borne by the faithful for that state of life to which God has 
done us the singular honour of calling us. But if our behaviour 
be at variance with that of others in the same situation with 
ourselves, one of two things must happen : either we shall be 
the means of introducing dissatisfaction and relaxation into 
other communities, or we shall be contrasted with them by the 
public voice to our own disadvantage. And thus we repay the 
establishment, which, once the mother of martyrs, is now a 
mother to us, with obloquy and disgrace. Surely a more 
generous spirit should animate us than this ! Again, if, in 
frequenting the schools appointed to us, we fancy that we do 
not derive such benefit as by our own private study, and so 
neglect them, we forget how much more important to the great 
interests of religion it is that we should draw as near as 
possible to the centre of unity, and how much better to have 
drawn a little at the fountain of authorized knowledge than 
even more at wells of our own digging. It is to knit closer 
the bond of religious unity that we are sent here ; and any 
sacrifice may well be made of our individual wills to that great 

2. Reflect upon the higher motives than mere human ordi 
nance which would prompt us to this diligence in the observance 
of rule. It has pleased God from the beginning to make the 
happiness of men often depend upon their compliance with 
injunctions apparently trivial. What could in itself appear 
more galling and less necessaiy than, after giving our first 
parents full possession of all the rich fruits of Paradise, to 
prohibit the eating of one special tree 1 How trifling a matter 
did this seem for so severe a legislation ! Yet upon this was 


made to depend the life or death of the entire human race, and 
we are now paying the forfeit of our parents folly in listening 
to the suggestions of the tempter that God had thus trenched 
upon their natural rights. In His law, Almighty God enjoined 
the severest penalties upon the violation not merely of grave 
precepts, but also of statutes and ceremonies, many of them 
apparently of small moment ; whereas the noblest rewards are 
promised to those that scrupulously observe them. And, in 
the new law of grace, Jesus Himself tells us, " Si quis solverit 
unum de mandatis istis minimis, minimus vocabitur in regno 
ccelorum." A diminution of glory, then, will be the result of 
our neglecting the smaller injunctions of His law. The 
question, therefore, which each of us should ask himself is 
this : " Did God speak through my superiors when they pre 
scribed to me, on my entering this house, the duties I should 
have to perform, and the regulations I should have to observe ? " 
And if the answer be that they are delegated by Him, and 
consequently spoke in His Name, surely we shall respect even 
those smaller precepts which come to us with such a sanction. 
Jesus reproved not the Pharisees because they gave God their 
tithes of mint, anise, and cummin, but only because, giving 
these, they neglected the weightier things of the law. Nay, 
lest His reproof might be construed into a slight of such small 
tributes and observances, He added : " Hcec oportuit facere, 
et ilia non omittere" (Matt, xxiii. 23). And so He will not 
dispense with us in those smaller things, so long as He com 
mands them, because we affect to be observant of greater. But, 
in truth, how do we expect God s blessing upon any performance 
which is in direct violation of His commands 1 If He has 
prescribed to us to attend to certain studies in a certain manner, 
will He render fruitful such as are performed in some other 
way, involving the neglect of His command ? We offer to 
Him each morning all our thoughts, words, and actions : dare 
we include in our oblation such as are in violation of our rules, 
deliberate and intended ? Let us then obey, not through fear, 
but for conscience sake : knowing that the Eye of God is upon 
us, to reward our diligence even in small things. Let us not 
be impelled to observance only by the voice or looks of 
superiors, but by the desire of our heavenly Master s approval, 


who will hereafter bring to light the hidden things of darkness, 
and reward us openly. Let the summons to the most trivial 
duty sound to us like the voice of a guardian angel, speaking 
to us in God s name. For therefore has the Church employed 
the sound of the bell in preference to the timbrel or trumpet of 
the Levites, for summoning her children to her ecclesiastical 
offices, and religious communities to all their duties. Therefore 
has she hung its peal high in the air, that its sound might come 
down to us, as from heaven, reminding us of the source whence 
descends to us its sweet and harmonious order. 

3. Resolutions. " I will then, O God ! with Thy blessing, 
apply myself with great diligence to the discharge of every duty 
enjoined by Thee, however small and trivial in itself. I will 
consider only Thee who dost prescribe it, and will look only to 
Thee for my reward. Bless all that I do in conformity with 
Thy adorable will, so communicated to me ; and make me con 
tribute by my edifying regularity to the prosperity and hap 
piness of this house." Then turn to our glorious patron, S. 
Thomas of Canterbury, and say : " Blessed martyr ! who didst 
so love the discipline of God s house, which is His Church, that 
thou wert ready to lay down thy life for it, look down upon us 
who invoke thy name, and desire to love and serve God under 
thy protection. Make us exemplary and punctual in the dis 
charge of every duty, however minute ; in the observance of 
every rule, however inconsiderable. Teach us to look upon 
each of them as the ordinance of God, not of man : that so, 
being lovers of discipline ourselves, we may everywhere diffuse 
and preserve it in our own country, whose institutions- 
were watered by thy generous blood ; through Jesus Christ. 

jFiftfj iftontjj, jfcrottfj KUcrft. Suntoau. 
MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION. On the Presence of God. 

1. Reflect how God has addressed to us all those words : 
" Walk before Me, and be perfect." He has thus declared the 
being ever in His presence a means of sanctifying ourselves, 


which alone is true perfection. Let us now consider this 
exercise of God s presence as an effectual means of preserving 
us from sin, and thus disposing us for sanctity and virtue. The 
sins that we have most to fear are our concealed and secret 
transgressions. Men must have arrived at a degree of de 
pravity, from which God s mercy has, we may trust, preserved 
us, before they shamelessly commit sin in the eye of day, and 
before the face of their fellow-men. It is when alone that 
temptation assails us, that the devil disturbs our thoughts 
with foolish presumptuous doubts, or deceitful and dangerous 
images. Only in the wilderness did he venture to place Jesus 
upon a mountain top, and show, and on impious conditions 
offer Him, all the kingdoms of earth. Hopeless as was his 
effort thus to tempt Him, it would have been, in his perception, 
more hopeless still, had he made it while Jesus was surrounded 
by disciples who revered Him, and by crowds who looked up 
to Him as the teacher and the Messias. Indeed, we could not 
desire a better safeguard against sin, than the presence of a 
respected and dear friend and monitor, who would be deeply 
grieved at our transgression, and whose very looks we should 
be ashamed to meet at the time of committing it. But, after 
all, such a check could only act upon the commission of out 
ward sin ; our most intimate friend could not see the interior 
of our hearts ; and in the darkness of their depths, we might 
in one instant offend, and that fatally. But in the sense of 
God s Presence we have all the curb and restraint that could 
be imposed upon us by the eye of One who could dive into the 
furthest recesses of our souls; and could there note every 
desire, every complacency, every thought that rises in them, 
with Whom there is no secresy, no reserve, no disguise, but all 
is laid open and plain. In vain do we retire into solitude ; in 
vain shelter ourselves under the shades of night ; in vain do we 
say, " Darkness encompasseth me, and no man seeth me." The 
Eye of God, brighter than the sun, follows us thither, pene 
trates into our very brains and hearts, and sees and weighs all 
that we do and think. Shall we dare to do it, while this 
wakeful glance is fixed upon us with unfailing attention? 
Shall we dare to sin to the very face of God ? But all this 
supposes Him to be no mo-re than a spectator, a party un- 


concerned in our transgressions, save as a friend might see and 
mourn over it. But, oh ! shall we dare to sin against Himself 
while He is thus looking on 1 The assassin goes behind his 
victim s back when he wishes to strike him. Does the servant 
plot his thefts aloud in the chamber of his master, or execute 
them when he is awake and looking on 1 Does the traitor 
hatch and mature his treason openly, in the audience of his 
prince 1 No ; all shrink from the gaze of him whom they 
intend to outrage ; all but the sinner who offends his God. 
He alone offends Him to His face j and, knowing that He sees 
and heeds him, knowing the sin to be a grievous attaint 
against His honour, His rights, His attributes, still goes forward 
to commit it ! Surely, we must be blind to act so mad a part. 
We must have steeled our souls against every feeling, to behave 
thus towards the Almighty God. 

2. Reflect, how, not only in the presence of God, and against 
God, sin is committed, but likewise in defiance of Him, while 
thus present. At the very moment that we thus offend Him, 
He is actually seated upon His throne of justice, executing 
judgment upon all the sinners of the earth. Could our eyes 
be opened at that moment, to behold Him as He is, we should 
see Him summoning before Him, from every part of the world, 
sinners no more guilty than we are about to be. Some have 
been engaged perhaps in a first transgression ; and no mercy 
has been shown them, but the angel of death hath pierced them 
as Phinees did the sinning Israelite, in the very act of his 
guilt. Yet, if we yield to the temptation, it will not be our 
first offence, perhaps by thousands. Others have been allowed 
a longer time, and, like ourselves, have been offered more 
chances of salvation ; but at last their measure has been filled 
up, and they have had their sentence pronounced and executed 
on the spot. It is in the presence of the dread Lord of heaven 
and earth, thus seated on His throne of justice, that we presume 
to sin, and to sin against Himself ! Nay ; not only so. But 
we see Him surrounded by legions of spirits who love Him and 
are most jealous of His honour, whose swords leap from their 
scabbards and demand vengeance when they see Him offended. 
"How long," they will exclaim if we transgress, "how long 
wilt Thou bear, Lord of Hosts, with this miserable worm, 


who to Thy face rises up in impotent rebellion against Thee, 
and denies by his crimes this very presence-chamber ] " Below 
the bar is a herd of infernal accusers, who will vociferate loudly 
that it is time for us to be delivered up to them after this 
further insult : and that God will be making His mercies too 
cheap, if he push His long-suffering so far. And between 
these and the Divine Judge, we shall see our guardian angel 
mourn, and make intercession that we may be spared once 
more. But no sooner will our crime have been committed 
than it will be recorded in the infallible book of God s judg 
ments ; and the sum cast up, to see if yet the permitted 
measure of impunity is full. What a tremendous crisis ! If 
it be so, then mercy can do no more : our ever-blessed Mother, 
and our good angel, and our patron Saints, will turn away their 
eyes for an instant, while the decree of the stern, inflexible 
justice is pronounced : and our doom will be sealed, if not for 
immediate destruction, yet for abandonment and reprobation. 
That the first part of this scene will be acted, not as here 
figuratively described under human forms, but in truth, we 
cannot doubt. If the consequence be not what we have 
supposed, it will be because God s goodness will once more 
stifle the calls of justice, and spare us in spite of our insult. 
But if we saw the scene, vividly present before us, with the 
alternative of instant condemnation, or a new long-suffering 
mercy from God whose face we outrage, could we be so 
obstinately wicked and mad as to offend Him 1 Now, a sense 
of the presence of God, often exercised, will easily bring this 
scene before our eyes ; and when the storm of temptation urges 
us, our minds will turn towards heaven ; there we shall see the 
Ancient of days seated in judgment. " Vidi Dominum" we 
shall say with the prophet, " sedentem super solium excelsum : " 
and the tempter will flee before the sight of it. 

3. Affections and Resolutions. " Nay, rather, dearest- 
Saviour ! when temptation thus urges me, I will look towards 
Thee, and imagine I see Thee, looking down upon me from 
Thy throne of glory, with a countenance full of benignity and 
mildness ; showing me Thy bright Wounds, and addressing me 
in kind expostulation, saying : f My son, wilt thou commit sin 
against Me in the presence of these 1 ? Oh, this shall be 


enough to beat down every evil desire, and to overcome every 
artifice of the evil one. Never will I presume to sin in the 
sight of Thee, not my Judge alone, but my Saviour chiefly ; 
and of those eyes of love through which Thou dost seem to 
look down upon me, those open Wounds which my redemption 
caused Thee. But that in the hour of trial these feelings may 
come to me with a powerful and blessed instinct, give me the 
good habit of always standing and acting in Thy presence. 
Let my studies, my meditations, all my occupations be per 
formed at the foot of Thy Cross. Let me always feel that 
Thou art at my side ; and constantly address and invoke Thee as 
truly present. May I ever realise that I live surrounded by and 
immersed in the Majesty of God, that He is about and within 
me, and that whatever I do He seeth me, and diligently marks 
me. Let me thus ever walk before God and be perfect, by 
avoiding even the smallest violation of His heavenly and perfect 

JFtftfj fHontfj, JFourtfj 2Eecft. 

THE LAST THINGS HEAVEN. On the company in it of those 
dear to us. 

1. Reflect how heaven is part of that same Church to which 
we belong on earth : it is the triumphant, while we form its 
militant portion. Hence S. Paul addresses Christians even in 
this life as though already come into the company of blessed 
spirits, who inhabit the spiritual Sion, the city of the living 
God, together with the souls of the just made perfect. That 
communion, therefore, which existed previously on earth, 
between the members of the Church, will be continued in much 
greater perfection by them when in heaven. But then, as 
charity here below has its graduated scale, and may, without 
injustice, be felt more warmly in favour of those to whom par 
ticular bonds of gratitude or natural affection bind us, so like 
wise in Heaven there will be a particular sense of delight in 
being reunited with those who have been specially dear to us 
liere, as long as that love has been according to God. For is 

2 D 


not such affection a feeling inspired by Himself 1 is it not 
dictated by the religion which cheers at once the last hour of a 
departing parent and comforts the mourning of a virtuous 
child, by the soothing hope that, before many years, they will 
meet again where sorrow and separation can be no more 1 
Have not faithful spouses, who feared God, been justified when 
death has sundered them, in looking forward to being reunited 
in eternal bliss 1 Did not the " dear S. Elizabeth " of Hungary 
console her widowhood with the hope of speedily rejoining her 
beloved Lewis 1 Judge, then, what a happiness it must have 
been to her, after the desolation and persecution of so many 
years, to greet him once again, with the assurance that nothing 
could ever separate them. And so will it be a great accession 
of joy to us to be reunited with our dear and virtuous friends ; 
to find ourselves with our parents to whose early care we owe 
the acquisition of that bliss ; and to be able to thank them as 
they deserve, for such a blessing, when for the first time we 
can properly appreciate it. How delightful, to reconstruct 
that circle of companions and friends who formed the innocent 
happiness of our childish years ; some of them snatched away 
before their hearts were corrupted or knew of evil ; some 
who followed us into youth, and went through its trials blame 
lessly. All these will remember their early affections, and 
feel a sincere joy at renewing them where nothing lives that 
is not pure, and all that is pure is unalterable. There we shall 
meet again the friends of our riper years : him, for instance, 
whether confessor, guide, or elder companion, to whose good 
example, mild admonition, and prudent counsels we owe much 
of our preservation from the contagion of evil company. How 
shall we thank him for many reproofs which chafed us, perhaps, 
when uttered j and renew our vows of friendship before the 
Throne of glory to which those very rebukes have led us ! 
There shall we meet the instructors and directors of our studies 
and consciences ; who having had to render an account to God 
of our souls, shall have been able, through our correspondence 
with their exertions, to justify themselves before Him, and who 
can now point to us as proofs that they laboured well. What 
sincere gratitude shall we feel for the pains they took with us, 
for their patience in bearing with us, and perseverance in 


aiding and encouraging us ! And how gladly will they yee 
us become their crown, increasing their glory by our own ! 
Oh, how many such happy meetings will a soul enjoy upon 
entering that kingdom of love without any danger of cooling 
in its first affection ! Oh, let all our friendships and attach 
ments on earth be such as shall secure to us the renewal of them 
in heaven. 

2. Reflect how none will have so much right to rejoice at 
being together in the repose and triumphs of heaven, as those 
who have fought side by side in the same battles upon earth. 
Let us imagine what acclamations of joy will greet a pastor 
who, after labouring faithfully till his hairs have blanched with 
toil, comes at last to rejoin those whom he has made his friends, 
and sent before him to the everlasting mansions. Not a year 
has passed, in which some one has not arrived there, with 
the seal of reconciliation set upon his forehead by the pastor s 
hands, his limbs anointed with the last unction by his care. 
Each has publicly proclaimed before God and His angels the 
name of that zealous minister, who so often brought them to 
repentance, who so steadily directed them to virtue, and who 
at their last hour of trial watched over them, prayed with and 
for them, and secured their happy departure from the body. 
Each has acknowledged before the heavenly court, that to him, 
under God, they owe their salvation. They have prayed every 
blessing upon his head. Still, they cannot be certain about his 
fate ; for it is not given to them to know the deep mystery of 
predestination which is locked up in the bosom of God. But 
now at length, behold ! they see his soul, released from its 
prison-house, rise above the clouds ; and purified from every 
stain, fly up towards the regions of bliss. What a festival of 
joy for those happy spirits ! Figuring the scene to ourselves 
humanly, how do they seem to us to crowd around him, and 
shower congratulations and expressions of loving thankfulness 
upon him ! And how he in his turn finds new pleasure in 
meeting so many for whom he has not toiled in vain ! Is not 
such a moment as this worth the labour and fatigues of years ? 
Are not hardships, and want, and watchings, and combats well 
worth enduring, for one such hour of jubilee as this 1 But that 
hour is eternal ; it knows no end ; this will truly be an undying 

2 D 2 


gratitude and an immortal reward ! Then, besides those who 
have been thus engaged together in the spiritual warfare, in the 
mutual relation of leaders and soldiers, there will be others no 
less glad to meet, and find they have fought together a good 
fight. These are such as have on different points conducted 
their forces against the common enemy. None on earth can 
so rejoice on meeting after the trials and dangers and fatigues 
of a hard- won, victorious field, as the officers on w r hom its 
success depended, and who, besides the individual anxiety, 
have had the responsibility of so many others welfare 
upon them ! Even so may we suppose it will be in heaven, 
when those true friends, whose attachment was formed round 
the cross of Jesus, and who had sworn never to desert that His 
standard, never to relax in advancing His glory and dominion, 
now meet together, each from that part of the battle-field 
committed to his charge, each able to tell his experience in the 
fight and his share in the victory. All, indeed, will agree in 
the feeling, that what they have done is little in the cause of 
so good and so bountiful a God ; still, they will rejoice together, 
calling to mind how that little was generously and zealously 
performed. It will be their joy to remember how faithfully 
they stood by one another in a spirit of mutual co-operation, 
without envy or jealousy ; how, by different courses, all 
directed to the same end, they earned a common triumph. 

3. Affections " Shall it not, then, be part of our joy, who 
are now together under the same roof, to meet again in equal 
number, without missing one of our little band ? When the 
forty martyrs were standing together upon the frozen lake, they 
prayed : " Quadraginta in stadium ingressi sumus; quadraginta 
item, Domine, corona donemur ; ne una quidem kuic numero 
desit." Let such likewise be our prayer. Lord, behold we are 
three and twenty preparing for the lists ; ready to fight and to 
suffer for Thy sake. A bond of brotherhood binds us together ; 
make it indissoluble even by death; give it the blessing of 
immortality. Grant that as many as are arming to fight, so 
many may be worthy of Thy reward. As many swords as Thou 
hast dealt out to us, so many crowns prepare for us ; as many 
suits of armour, so many robes of glory. Let not one be absent 
from our meeting there, who is present in our common life here. 


We shall arrive one by one, as Thy good pleasure willeth, at 
the place of assembly ; but when sufficient years have rolled 
over for each of us to have accomplished his time, may our 
number, and with it our joy, be full. Oh, may we then find 
that not one has been a recreant, not one been sluggish and 
remiss, not one fallen away from his first resolutions ; but that 
all have kept the word which we this day give Thee, to labour 
together; that in that hour we may rejoice together in 

Mil) fHontlj, jFourtfj ESftwfe. 
PERSONAL VIRTUES On mistrust of ourselves. 

1 . Reflect upon those terrible words of God by His prophet : 
" Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and maketh flesh his 
arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord " (Jer. xvii. 5). 
Those words denounce all trust in human means, and in man s 
strength, to the disparagement of God s help, which alone is 
effectual. How much more, that trust which our pride and 
self-love would make us feel in hearts so feeble and frail as 
ours ! In all our temporal concerns, on which we reason 
truly and act wisely, there is hardly any one s opinion and 
assistance which we do not prefer to our own. The most 
skilful physician will hardly prescribe for himself in a grievous 
malady, but will often prefer submitting to the treatment of 
one much less experienced than himself. No one, says the 
proverb, is a judge in his own cause. For all well understand 
how difficult it is to be our own guides, or see what is best for 
ourselves. But in the great affairs of eternity, we feel no 
difficulty whatever in presuming upon our own strength. Full 
of self-confidence, we rush headlong into danger, and peril our 
salvation. We seem to fancy that we are somehow privileged 
in the service of God ; and that while others fall by snares 
which, with all their clear-sightedness, they overlooked ; or by 
assaults which, with all their fancied strength, they did not 
resist we may go on, secure of discovering every hidden 
danger and repelling every open violence. 


Vain and foolish, not to say, with the prophet, accursed 
presumption ; source of almost all our faults, of our excessive 
weakness, and of our backwardness in virtue ! For thus does 
the Holy Ghost proceed to describe the effects of trusting in 
man, and the condition of him who maketh flesh his arm. 
" For he shall be like a tamarisk in the desert, and he shall 
not see when good shall come ; but he shall dwell in dry ness 
in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited " (v. 6). 
That is, though to the eye of man they shall appear green and 
goodly, yet the root of their virtue shall be dried up, from 
being fixed in the barrenness of their own hearts. They shall 
have no rain or dew from the God of heaven, who resisteth the 
proud, and only to the humble giveth His grace so that when 
the first blast of the tempest comes, even at the first gust of 
the parching east wind, they shall be torn up and overthrown. 
But God is not content with merely pointing out the evil 
effects of this vain trust in ourselves ; He instructs us, more 
over, in their cause and origin. " The heart," He adds, " is 
perverse above all things, and unsearchable : who can know 
it ?" (v. 9.) Not even its own possessor. Who can fathom its 
motives, and the cunning springs that impel it to action and 
direct its real aim, while outwardly it seems to move by the 
simplest of causes 1 Who can penetrate through those most 
artful disguises whereby it masks itself from the keenest 
searching of its own master, and puzzles him almost to be 
sure of its identity 1 ? Who can unravel its wily plots to 
deceive, not so much others as itself; or analyse the charmed 
drugs with which it lulls itself into a fatal sleep, or the 
medicines with which it eases its own wounds ? Conscious, 
then, of its inexhaustible powers of self-deceit, shall we place 
the slightest confidence in its purposes, or rely upon the broken 
reed of its protestations and endeavours 1 On the contrary, 
we must beat down its presumption, and treat it as a traitor 
within the castle which we are bound to defend ; a traitor 
leagued with those that besiege it to deliver it upon the 
slightest whim into their hands ! 

2. Reflect that, even if our heart were sound, and ever ready 
to do whatever is right and virtuous, our strength is not equal 
to its purposes. Though the spirit may be ready, the flesh is 


weak : and we should thus be like a general full of courage 
and ability at the head of a broken and dispirited army. And 
surely, if the word of God had not warned us of the treachery 
of our hearts, experience would have convinced us of the feeble 
ness of our efforts, and of the folly of trusting in them. Ah, 
when will the history of our past life teach us wisdom for the 
future 1 ? When shall the wounds and bruises we have received 
in our many rash encounters convince us that we are but flesh 1 
When shall the many flaws and breaks inflicted upon us in our 
numerous falls satisfy us that we are but of potter s clay 1 
What resolution have we ever made that we have not at some 
time broken 1 What promise have we solemnly uttered, that 
we have not in the end violated 1 What good beginning of fer 
vent life has long persevered 1 What virtue that we proposed to 
gain has been pursued and acquired 1 ? And is it thus deceived, 
thus baffled, thus disappointed, that we begin over again the 
work of self-confident and, therefore, foolish effort "? 

If we saw a man try again and again to raise his house, when 
each time the foundations had given way from want of solid 
ground, and had crushed each time the labour of days aud 
months, his hopes, and his possessions, should we not say, to 
use the most lenient terms, that he was possessed by some 
infatuation, or that he was bewitched to that fatal spot 1 And 
shall we go on rebuilding our prospects of salvation upon the 
ruins of former edifices, at least as strong when first raised as 
this on which we are now engaged ? Nay, the loose and slippery 
remains of previous efforts are not only so many warnings, but 
so many hindrances to our future solidity. What then shall 
we do ? Dig a deep foundation for all that we intend to erect, 
by sinking as profoundly as we can into the sense of our own 
nothingness, till we feel that we cannot even think anything 
good from ourselves, but that all our sufficiency is from God 
alone. The loftier we intend the fabric of our virtue to be, 
the lower let us make the foundation of self- distrust. " I am 
of my nature frail," so may we reason with ourselves : " I am 
by sin enfeebled, I am by past failures discouraged. My wisdom 
has at best proved foolishness, my most prudent counsels have 
in the end turned out vain and rash, and shall I trust them 
once more, and act upon them again 1 " 


By such reflections we shall be led to that true wisdom and 
most prudent counsel which the prophet places in contrast with 
the folly of self-confidence, saying : " Blessed is the man that 
trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence, 
And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that 
spreadeth out its roots towards moisture : and it shall not fear 
when the heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green, 
and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither 
shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit " (Jer. xvii. 7, 8). 
In proportion as we truly distrust ourselves we shall put our 
confidence in God ; and the sense of our own weakness will 
clothe us with His strength. Not with lance and sword shall 
we go forth to meet our enemies, nor trusting in the prowess 
of our own arms, but in the name of the God of Jacob, in the 
strength of the Lord of Hosts. Thus secure, like David, we 
shall achieve with a pebble what others durst not venture with 
the spear. 

3. Resolutions and Affections. " Take away, O God, from, 
my heart all the pride of self-conceit, and self-confidence, which 
till now hath been the cause of so much mischief to my soul. 
Teach me to know and to feel the whole extent of my feeble 
ness and wretchedness, and ever to look upon my own devices 
as most deceitful, upon my own desires as most treacherous, 
and upon my own efforts as most worthless. From the abyss 
of my own nothingness make me lift up mine eyes to Thee 
who dwellest in the highest, and place all my confidence in 
Thee, the God of Jacob. I will say to Thee, Susceptor meus 
es Tu, jDeus meus, sperabo in eum. The more I mistrust myself, 
the more I will confide in Thee, that I may not be confounded 
for ever. Instead of my foolishness I shall have Thy wisdom 
for my counsellor j instead of my unsteadiness I shall have Thy 
immoveable firmness for my support ; instead of my weakness 
I shall have Thy strength to lean upon. And thus shall my 
self-mistrust not only save me from many evils and dangers, but 
bring me to this great and necessary foundation of all good,, 
security in Thy assistance and gracious protection." 


jfiftlj fHontfj, JFaurtfj &iefe. ILHrtmcstJag. 

MYSTERIES OF CHRIST S LIFE. His teaching. " Many are 
called, but few are chosen." 

1. Reflect how full of matter for very serious meditation are 
these few words ; the more so, because their import affects us 
all, and eacli of us immediately. Let us then meditate upon 
the sentence part by part. " Multi quidem sunt vocati." On. 
another solemn occasion, our Blessed Saviour said that Hi* 
" Blood was to be shed for the salvation of many ;" "pro multis 
effwndetur ; " that is, fo